Distinguishing Elitism & Pluralism

Elitism and pluralism are opposing belief systems that serve as lenses through which to analyze political systems, including institutions such as governments, armies, and parliaments. These belief systems help to understand power dynamics and struggles within a political system.

Key Takeaways

  • Elitism acknowledges that in every society and political system, certain individuals and groups hold power and their views are taken seriously in higher echelons of government.
  • Pluralism refers to the acceptance of diverse views and opinions, with decisions made based on consensus; it is closer to democratic political systems.
  • No political system follows either elitism or pluralism exclusively, as elitism remains present even in the purest democracies around the world.


In every country, there are select groups and individuals who wield significant influence; their views are heard attentively and given due consideration before making major decisions. These individuals may be born into privileged classes or possess special attributes such as extraordinary talent or extensive experience in a particular field. The views and opinions of these people and groups are taken seriously, and they are considered the elite part of the population. Sometimes, wealth alone can be a criterion for being regarded as elite. In this system, the elite remain above the rest of the population, and the power to control the country is concentrated in their hands.


Pluralism is a belief system that acknowledges the coexistence of different power centers and considers an ideal system to be one where no one has dominance over others. Decision-making is based on participation, and the views of all are heard before arriving at a decision that is acceptable to the majority of the population. This system echoes the sentiments of the majority and is close to the concept of democracy.

In reality, except for dictatorships where the rule of a select few is based on their power or elite background, pluralism is seen in the form of democracy in most political systems around the world. However, even in the purest democracies, there are elites in the corridors of power and in the battleground during elections to decide government formation and later policy-making. The premise that real power in democracy lies in the hands of the masses does not hold true today, with elite groups and individuals holding the key to power equations and the delicate balance of power.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles