Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Pillarization of society means the vertical integration of a subcultural community in a system of political representation. More often than not, this kind of integration is considered as necessary for a minority to politically participate and survive when democratization of a polity is under way or more or less completed by means of electoral rights (e.g., universal suffrage) and the establishment of a party system (at the national level). Pillarized political systems emerged in a limited number of cases only and strongly correlate with a specific type of parliamentary democracy: “consociational” systems (Arend Lijphart) in which agreements among the elites of the respective pillars bridge their divisions. In the following sections, the characteristics of such pillars as they occur in the major cases, their political relevance, and recent tendencies of depillarization are discussed. The term pillar ( verzuiling in Dutch and Flemish and Lager in German) is sociologically defined 1. ...