English political pluralism is a challenging school of political thought, neglected in recent years but now enjoying a revival of interest. It is particularly relevant today because it offers a critique of centralized sovereign state power. The leading theorists of the pluralist state were G.D.H. Cole, J.N. Figgis and H.J. Laski, and this volume brings together their most important ideas, making accessible a crucial body of work on radical political theory. It includes their major writings, mostly out of print and difficult to obtain, and here gathered together in an anthology for the first time. Current in the first two decades of this century, English political pluralism offered a convincing critique of state sovereignty and proposed a decentralized and federated form of authority - pluralism - in which the affairs of society would be conducted by self-governing and independent associations. Paul Hirst's comprehensive introduction situates English political pluralism historically and gives a critical account of its main theoretical themes and the debate surrounding them.
The book will be of interest to those who see radical reform as vital for the future health of democracy, to students of political theory and the history of political thought and also to students of jurisprudence and legal theory interested in the pluralist debate as it affects the concept of legal sovereignty.