The How Many Question: An Institutionalist's Guide to Pluralism
INSTITUTIONALIZING RIGHTS AND RELIGION: COMPETING SUPREMACIES 147-163 (Leora Batnitzky & Hanoch Dagan eds., Cambridge University Press, 2017)
10 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 11, 2017
The essay explores the implications of a pluralist normative agenda for the design of public institutions, with some applications to Israeli case-studies. The paper asks the “how many” question: what are the actual structural implications of a pluralist vision in which public institutions embody or accommodate multiple belief systems or cultural affiliations? How many institutional alternatives should an “optimal” pluralist regime include, and what should be the degree of variance between them? To provide an analytical framework for answering these questions, the essay distinguishes between two methods of pluralist institutionalism: mimetic pluralism, in which public institutions are designed to replicate an existing diversity of social practices; and poietic pluralism, in which the state produces novel alternatives in order to preserve a pluralist institutional field over time. Each of the methods rests on a different normative account of pluralism, and each treats the “how many” question differently; both face comparable challenges of dynamic institutional design when cultural practices and public preferences change. Based on this framework, which engages political morality, institutional analysis, and behavioral choice theory, the essay considers several attempts in pluralist institutional design in the context of Israel’s multiple religious communities, in such areas as adjudication and marriage registration.
Keywords: pluralism, institutional design, law, religion
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