Elite theory

Elite theory

Matias López Interdisciplinary Network for Studies of Social Inequality (NIED), at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

abstract This article reviews contemporary elite theory in political sociology and political science. Elite theory is based on the assumption that elite behavior has a causal relationship with general patterns of state–society relations. The article presents classical concepts of elite theory, such as elite inevitability and elite circulation, while privileging contemporary challenges and trends in elite theory. The discussion addresses elite origins of democracy and elite origins of the welfare state, as well as elites/non-elites interdependence.

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