Margaret Oliphant Wilson Oliphant (b
Lifting the Veil - Want to know
Similarities Pluralist and elite theory does offer parallels. In Dunleavy and O'Leary's 'Theories of the State', overlaps elite theory and pluralism: 'democratic elitism or revisionist democracy'.7 Polyarchy is perhaps a principal notion of this, in that there are various interest groups in society but these are all in some way or another dominated by an elite at the top of the organisation; as Michels asserted 'Who said organisation, said oligarchy.' Organisations then are led by elites but they have to be receptive to the demands of the interest groups. This does I feel reconcile the two theories of pluralism and elitism, even though they are supposedly opposed. This can be explained by a polyarchy of elites, and it is this numerousness of them that means they must adapt policy to adhere to interest groups. Differences Pluralism believes power is dispersed through society, while in direct contrast elitism finds power concentrated in the hands of a minority. Pluralism centres on the notion of interest groups as being particularly important and significant. This assumes a kind of equal playing field, as not one interest group in pluralist theory is supposed to be more important than the other. However elitism identifies politics as taking place in a sphere 'characterised by structured inequalities.'8 Elites have the domination of resources, such as military, economic or political power in order to impose themselves upon the masses. Elitism identifies the masses as being incompetent.
Journal of Curriculum Studies - Faculty of Education
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