Chapter 14 -Theories of Democracy (Page 357-366)
A Functionalist Account: Pluralist Theory;
Pluralist theory; olds that power is widely dispersed. As a result, no group enjoys
disproportionate influence and decisions are usually reached through negotiation and
New Haven: (1950s) was highly democratic, either economic leaders or social elite
monopolized political decision making. Different groups of people decided various
Pluralists follow closely to functionalist script; they view the political system as an
institution that helps society achieve its collective goals and interests.
Pluralists do not believe that different members of society might have different goals
and interests and that some groups are more powerful and possibly disruptive.
Conflict Approaches I: Elite Theory;
Elite Theorists; holds that small groups occupying the common posts of most influential
institutions make important decisions that profoundly affect all ,members of society.
Moreover, they do so without much regard for elections or public opinion.
C. Wright Mills (1956) defined elites as; a small group that controls the command posts
o In the US the Elites include the 200-300 biggest corporations the executive
branch of government and the military.
o These people (mainly men) control the decisions that profoundly affect all
members of society.
o Corporate, state and military elites are connected; move from one elite group to
the other, intermarry, maintain close social contacts.
Mills denies that these connections turn them into a ruling class (a self-
conscious, cohesive group of people in elite positions. They act to