This article offers a history of pluralism as a term in scholarly discourse. It presents the existing research on the question and offers a contribution on the basis of an inclusive approach that is not limited to one discipline (philosophy or political science) or to one linguistic area. In particular, it references the rich German debate and the important French intellectual developments. Moreover, it considers not only the proponents but also the adversaries of pluralism. There are two recurring elements in the debates on political pluralism. One is the existence, even among the critics of pluralism, of a recognition of plurality at some level. The other is the advocacy, even by authors who strongly emphasize conflict and dissent, of some necessary unity.
Jean Terrier is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science at FernUni Schweiz and an associate researcher at the University of Zurich. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org