In this book, Gregor McLennan examines developments in two of the most central traditions of social and political theory - Marxism and pluralism - and asks whether the relation between them is one of progressive convergence. McLennan begins by considering conceptual and empirical shifts in each tradition since their more orthodox or classical formulations. In a closely interwoven argument, he then traces the sociological, philosophical and political debates between these perspectives. The issue of class, for instance, highlights the challenges which the Marxist tradition has had to face, as the pivotal role of the proletariat has increasingly come into question. Equally, pluralists have had to accept that pervasive structural divisions - including class, race and gender, for example - shape political and social interaction. A further major issue is considered: in the current climate of `postmodern' thought is the entire debate between Marxism and pluralism now outmoded? In a series of critical assessments of positions which attempt to go `beyond' Marxism/pluralism, McLennan argues that the central tensions and positions within this classic dialogue have not yet been superceded.
"a lucid, subtle and erudite guide to the ongoing debate between marxism and its critics. It is, in fact, a very important book that neither Marxists or pluralists can afford to overlook." British Journal Of Sociology .
Preface PART ONE: A Tale of Two Traditions 1. Historic oppositions, contemporary questions 2. Conventional to critical pluralism 3. Marxism and the 'question of pluralism': historical materialism 4. Marxism: the class analysis of politics 5. Modalities of antagonism and convergence PART TWO: Beyond the Debate? 6 . The conundrums of philosophical pluralism 7. Eclecticism and synthesis in social theory 8. Statism: two variants of a third way 9. Conclusion: 'modest eclecticism' and the restructuring of social theory Bibliography Undergraduates (2nd and 3rd years) in Politics, Sociology and Philosophy; specialists in political and social theory; informed political commentators and observers