Institutions: The Hardware of Pluralism
Publication Date: April 2017
Institutions—both state and civil society—are central to pluralism. They establish governance practices, define citizenship, accord individual and collective rights, and identify or enable the obligations of citizens. Through these means, institutions can be used to advance pluralism—for example, through affirmative action policies or more inclusive constitutions—but they can also be used to obstruct pluralism—for example, through bans on religious garments. An institution can contribute to pluralism only to the extent that a society’s cultural ideas, norms, values and practices support this outlook. As the “hardware” of pluralism, institutions require the right “software” to work.