Essay on the Concept of Pluralism

Pluralism implies that people have learned to look at the world from different perspectives that they have learned to accept other cultures, other languages and other beliefs, and to respect the right to be different. Thus many, since the 1960s, have moved away from policies seeking to assimilate and to greater or lesser digress made room for differences, along the lines of the British policy of integration as set out in the so called ‘ Jenkins formula’ (after the British politician, Roy Jenkins). He said, ‘ I do not think we need in this country a ‘melting pot’ which will turn everybody out in a common mould, as one of a series of carbon copies of someone’s misplaced vision of the stereotyped Englishman… I define integration therefore, not as a flattening process of assimilation but as equal opportunity, coupled with cultural diversity, in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance.

Pluralism is widely seen by academics and policy makers as a liberal policy enabling racial and ethnic groups to preserve their own heritage and distinctiveness.

Pluralism, as Paul brass suggests, is a ‘system that contains a multiplicity of social, cultural, economic, and political groups and that does not permit the imposition of the ideas, values, culture or language of a single group to be imposed upon the others.

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“The pluralist perspective thus entails the recognition of corporate sectors along with individual rights and privileges and envisages for diversity a role in the develop-ement of the personality of the state. This diversity associated with pluralism, according to Roberts and Clifton, is manifest in three domains: cultural, socio-structural, and psychological.

The basic assumption behind pluralism is that cohesion and coordination of national efforts can be more feasible in a framework of accommodative responsiveness; that the diversities are not inconsistent with the convergence of common ideals, interests and apprehensions, and that even when

Specific manifestations of the articulation of diversities are wholly inconsistent with national interests, the existence or continuation of such sub-national loyalties should not be taken as anti-national. The corollary of this view is that the raison d’être of a nation-state disappears if its power structure does not reflect its multiethnic character.


As regards implementing pluralism in practice, there are various devices that are available to states. These include the creation of ethnically separated electorates; proportional or compensatory representation in government; devolution of power to ethnically homogeneous territorial unit; establishments of veto power and checks and balances on ethnically relevant governmental decision; introduction of ethnic quotas in bureaucratic and legislative bodies; provision of compensatory social and economic benefits to. Low status minorities; and the creation of constructional or statutory guarantees or ethnic blindness or evenhandedness in the use of governmental power.

All these devices have their own pros and cons and their utility and effectiveness depends on the specificities of each case. However, for general understanding, those have two aspects; one relating to policy formulation and implementation and the second relating to political structures. Important in the policy arena are question with regard to language and education; allocation or distribution of resources; and group or community rights. In structural terms and important issue is of share in political power. The most talked about policy in terms of pluralism these days is that of multiculturalism.

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