Polyarchy | Article about polyarchy by The Free Dictionary
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polyarchy literally, ‘the rule of the many’. In its widest usage in political science and sociology the term refers to any political system in which power is dispersed; thus its antonym is TOTALITARIANISM. As such polyarchy may take many forms, it is not synonymous only with LIBERAL DEMOCRACY, although it is sometimes used as if it were, e.g. by Dahl (1956; 1985). In sociology and in political science especially, a generic association is often seen between the existence of polyarchy and the rise of the modern NATION STATE. However, this is a relationship which has often been interrupted, and it ignores the existence of societies, prior to the emergence of nation states, in which power was relatively dispersed. See also CITIZENSHIP.