The Development of Elite Theory
This chapter introduces the handbook section on elite theory. It traces the roots of elite theory to Machiavelli and Hobbes and considers the seminal influence of Pareto, Mosca, Michels, Weber, Schumpeter, and Ortega y Gasset. It provides an overview of elite theory itself and links the composition, recruitment, and relative integration of elite groups, such as top politicians, heads of state agencies, and leaders of business and organized labor, to important social and political outcomes. Processes of political elite decay and replacement and how these processes clash with Marxist and democratic strands of theory, which link social and political change to class struggles or beliefs of mass populations, are also discussed.
- Best, H., & Higley, J. (Eds.). (2010). Democratic Elitism: New Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives. Leiden/Boston: Brill.Google Scholar
- Blondel, J., & Muller-Rommel, F. (2007). Political Elites. In R. J. Dalton & H.-D. Klingemann (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior (pp. 818–833). Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
- Cotta, M., & Best, H. (Eds.). (2007). Democratic Representation in Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Dogan, M. (Ed.). (1989). The Pathways to Power. Boulder/Colo: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Dogan, M. (Ed.). (2003). Elite Configurations at the Apex of Power. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
- Femia, J., Körösényi, A., & Slomp, G. (2009). Political Leadership in Liberal and Democratic Theory (pp. 67–78). Exeter/Charlottesville: Imprint Academic.Google Scholar
- Field, G. L., & Higley, J. (1980). Elitism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Higley, J. (2008). Elite Theory in Political Sociology. IPSA 2008 paper. http://paperroom.ipsa.org/papers/paper_4036.pdf. Web accessed 10 Oct 2015.
- Higley, J., & Burton, M. (2006). Elite Foundations of Liberal Democracy. Lanham/Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Higley, J., Pakulski, J., & Wesołowski, W. (Eds.). (1998). Postcommunist Elites and Democracy in Eastern Europe. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Hobsbawm, E. (1994). The Age of Extremes. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
- Pareto, V. (1916/1935). The Mind and Society: A Treatise on General Sociology. English translation edited by Arthur Livingston. New York: Dover, 1916/1935.Google Scholar
- Putnam, R. D. (1976). The Comparative Study of Political Elites. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar