Peer 1 Sophie
Question #2: What are the effects of pluralism? Why might groups concerned with the environment, women’s issues, or other concerns have an easier time being heard in a pluralist system? What other issue advocates (if any) might become prominent in Europe in coming years? Why?
Pluralism is a normative theory of how politics should be conducted as well as a positive theory of how groups actually operate. When it comes to its aspect of normative theory, pluralism is “one of the underpinnings of traditional liberal democracy” while with its positive theory aspect, it has been used to “characterize interest group activity in countries.” Pluralist interest groups have no formal institutional role in its allocation of resources and implementing of policies and that they are assumed to be self-generating and voluntary. There are many effects that are caused by a pluralist democracy, some being good and some being bad. Pluralism results in less prejudice and discrimination for minorities as an advantegous effect. It helps minorities feel more represented since there is a larger ruling system in place that invites more diversity.
Within this diversity we see religious diversity, cultural, gender and sexual, economic, and more. Although this is true, pluralism’s negative effects cannot be overlooked so easily. Tensions arise as a result of this democracy regarding the framework of pluralism. Some individuals or groups within a society feel the need to reject the validity of the political systems or cultural ideas that define that given society. To have a strong society and system, all groups need to have something that binds/connects them, whether its participation in capitalism or belief and value in liberal democracy. Groups concerned with women’s issues or environmental issues may have an easier time being heard in a pluralist society because of the important factor known as political pressure. Political pressure can be applied to these pluralist parties.
Policies are set on the basis of bargaining between groups, backed by the threat of economic sanctions each group has at disposal. Activism in the area of women’s issues and environmental issues and outside pressure has forced the public face of mainstream decision-making organizations to take these issues seriously. These interest groups try to influence public decision making by using the advantages offered by a pluralist society, those of diversity, to pressure the members of the democracy and defeat the tensions pluralism proposes of turning groups against each other. Other issue advocates that might become prominent in the upcoming years are issues pertaining to racism in Europe or security and defense. With the call for equality that spread through the united States in 2020 calling for the ending of discrimination and prejudice and violence against POC, Europe also saw many instance of interest groups calling for action in Europe and drawing attention to the issues civilly, socially, and politically. With the issues of security and defense, because of the mounting tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Europe as a whole should direct focus to these matters such as hybrid/cyber threats and security. They are current issues that need to be addressed, highlighted, and that all forms of systems, government, and democracies should stride to better.
Peer 2 Kelsie
Question #3: What are policy networks? Why are they salient at the level of the European Union? How might the revolution in Information Technology change them?
Policy networks are interactions between interest groups and the system in which policy is made. These interactions help aid interest groups to achieve their own political goals and expand their sphere of influence on their subject of interest. For example, doctors who are a part of groups who have an influence over the policies that are made and created about health and medicine. Without the support of these professionals who are a part of the medical association, policy is extremely difficult to make if not impossible. It is through these interactions between organizations and policy making that create policy networks.
The European Union lends itself particularly well to policy networks being very important to those wishing to have a say in policy making. Groups seeking to take their issues to a supranational level utilize the European Union. Policy networks in the European allows groups to have a say in decision making above the national governments influence. The European Union presents a window of opportunity to these interest groups called multilevel governance. Due to this feature, policy networks are attractive to utilize to go over the heads of the national government that may have hindered their progress before.
Introduction of new technology always comes with advantages and disadvantages to any network. In the case of social networks technology has caused an exponential increase in the opportunity for people to joining social networks as they are accessible on the world wide web. Joining a group is now easier than ever, and so is being involved in a policy network. Participation in social activism’s only barrier is now a click of a button. With this increase in accessibility, people can participate in networks for little to no cost at all. Additionally, the growth of the internet undermines the ability of governments and interest groups’ infrastructure. Although the amount of information that people have access too is expanded because of new technology it can be potentially problematic as they must re-think what it means to participate in politics.