| This is a relatively new school of thought which
has been developing over the last 30 years, as a result of the problems
of modernity. Stable democracies unexpectedly began to run into
difficulties in the late 1960's, with new problems such as student
revolts, separatist terrorists, worker unrest and economic crises.
The existing theories were found to be crude, anachronistic, or
ideological, and generally inadequate to deal with these crises,
and Neo-Pluralism is an attempt to cope, in particular using multi-causal
explanations and inter-disciplinary approaches.
Neo-Pluralism tends to discard market economics in favour of a more
sophisticated liberal analysis centring on the operations of large
corporations. It tends to follow the large corporations in being
interested in professionalisation, in the fragmentation of monolithic
organisation, the formation of separate agencies instead of subsidiary
departments (out-sourcing). Critics may say that this tends to produce
an impenetrable mass of uncontrollable fragmentary agencies, but
it may be that the future role of government will be centralised
scrutiny and of central goal setting for a large range of agencies.
Some of the recent work of Jessop (http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/sociology/soc015rj.html)
is about the inevitability of all systems eventually failing, and
neo-Pluralist systems can be seen as a response to this - a network
of different styles and sizes of agencies and organisations may
prove to be more resilient than a monolithic or unitary system.
It seems the Central Idea of Neo-Pluralism may be a resilient
The Mythic Idea is of the independent agency, (plus the
network and the 'inter-dependency' of ecology)
The Negative Stereotypes are unusual:- the system is so
complex that it excludes people with simplistic answers to social
and political problems, who are usually not willing to 'put up
with the process'. When I lived in Germany, it was sometimes obvious
that there is a desire for a strong leader there. However, they
have set up a Neo-Pluralist system which virtually excludes the
possibility of such a 'simplistic' leader ever again emerging
or taking power.