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Pluralist Theories Of The State

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1 Pluralist Theories Of The State
By: Ashleigh, Emmy, Anuja & Laura

2 Pluralist View On State
Pluralist see the State as an organisation which represents the interests of members of society as a whole. They argue that direct political involvement to the population is impractical. Pluralists see the State as a neutral arena where competing interests and pressure groups lobby for influence. The state isn’t dominated by one group- there are multiple or plural centres of power. The State arbitrates between competing interest groups and is neutral. Argues Modern democratic societies are characterized by power being dispersed between elite groups, represented by pressure groups and political parties.

3 R.A Dahl 1961 Looked at the role of interest groups and found several groups influenced the State. State is neutral, never dominated by one group. Contrast to Marxist view.

4 Dunleavy and O’Leary Pluralists Dunleavy and O’Leary indentified the three main pluralist views of the state. They were; The Weathervane model; The states direction reflects public opinion and the demands of pressure groups. This means that state policy is based on the concerns and interests of society. The neutral state model: The state is seen as the neutral or impartial arbiter who acts in the publics interests. This arbiter compromises between the demands of different pressure groups and makes sure that even the weakest groups are heard. These demands are then assessed in terms of what is best for society is a whole. It is different from the Weathervane model because it is more active in that it listens to a range of different views then makes decisions in the public’s interest. The broker state model: This view sees groups within the state as having their own interests and concerns. Although state officials may negotiate with a number of interests groups and can develop compromises with conflicting demands, most policies tend to reflect the concerns of the state officials themselves.

5 The Function Of The State:
The function of the state, according to Pluralist theory , is to act as neutral, independent referee or ‘honest broker’ whose role is to reconcile and accommodate competing interests. Aron sees the State as in the business of compromise. Resources such as power and capital are in the hands of the State and its role is to distribute this power to deserving causes.

6 Criticisms The pluralist theory is criticised for being too optimistic about the State and the government. The State cannot act as an honest broker as it is impossible to govern without using power and without favouring certain power and political groups.

7 Evaluation We believe that the theory is coherent because Dunleavy and O’Leary have a lot of truth in what they are saying about the broker model. It is correct that the State tend to put across their own concerns and don’t just focus on the concerns of individuals and members of pressure groups. R.A Dahl is correct in his theory because many groups do influence the State, it’s not just down to one group.

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