Community Elites and Power Structure

  • Rikki Abzug
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


Where has the study of community elites in the United States gone? Has anyone read any good research lately on the structure (inclusion, exclusion, etc.) or influence (power) of community or local elites? At a time when media, both local and national, are screaming about the liberal elite or the conservative elite, it is hard to follow the power/community elite research trail begun by sociologists in the mid-twentieth century. How did we come to this juncture where community elite studies as a field is practically nonexistent and studies of community or local elites are, at best, hard to find? It is the intention of this chapter to follow (using the guidance of particularly adept meta-analyses) the historical trajectory and great debates of elite studies (largely within sociology but with help from political scientists and network and management theorists) to the point at which they very nearly dropped off and were largely replaced (in organizational sociology, anyway) with studies of increasingly national “inner circles” (Useem, 1984) and interlocking directorates [see, for example, (1981a)]. This includes detailing the literature and the concepts that arose to take the place of community elite studies and suggestions on under what rubrics to find community elite studies today.


Power Structure American Sociological Review American Political Science Review Gated Community Local Elite 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rikki Abzug
    • 1
  1. 1.The New School for Social ResearchUSA

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