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Last updated 22 Mar 2021
Pluralism is a theory of the distribution of political power that holds that power is widely and evenly dispersed in society, rather than concentrated in the hands of an elite or ruling class. In particular, pluralists have a positive view of pressure-group politics, believing that groups promote healthy debate and discussion and that they strengthen the democratic process.
In political ideologies, pluralism is particularly promoted by liberals, who argue that tolerance of moral, cultural and political diversity is essential for freedom, and only a democracy in which diverse groups of individuals are able to compete, with the state acting as a ‘neutral’ arbiter between those groups, is a truly liberal democracy.
A lack of pluralism can lead to alienation of groups from society, and result also in some people abstaining from participating in our political system, seeing there is no point as they are not able to wield any power within it.