2008 年 59 巻 1 号 p. 1_61-1_81
The role of voluntary associations is a focus of current democratic theories including civil society argument, radical democracy, and deliberative democracy. Though it is certain that associations often perform democratic functions, they also disturb democracy by demanding narrow group interests, suppressing the opinions of group members, and lacking the interest in coordination and compromise. Whereas the associationalism developed in the United States depends on voluntary associations excessively; the one in the United Kingdom has been paying a close attention to the inadequacy of associational effects. The legacy of the pluralist theory of the state is especially important in this regard. Comparing two strands of associationalism, it is clear that something is necessary to strike an appropriate balance between the democratic and undemocratic functions of associations. The key to the problem is the new understanding of representative democracy. Contrary to the idea that associatiomalism will eventually replace the state-centered politics, a strong but flexible state which can accommodate and coordinate a variety of associations is required. Without taking such a state into consideration, associationalism would not be able to realize stabilized and impartial democratic politics.