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Political and Social Backgrounds of Political Elites

  • Daniel Gaxie
Chapter

Abstract

Political elites have emerged through a process of differentiation within society and state. Politicians also appeared in the course of a successful struggle against notables. They are engaged in a political career structured as a cursus honorum. Political activities have taken the form of an enterprise, increasingly collective, and politicians need to be analyzed as political entrepreneurs. They develop their activities, led by their own interests, in relatively separated and independent worlds, in which their positions depend on the volume of a specific political capital. However, the social backgrounds of party members are a way to make connections with society. Political representation produces mirror effects, limited by the very logic of political competition that induces selection effects. All political parties experience a social selection of their political personnel. It favors different social classes or categories according to parties, which entail a relationship between political oppositions and social divides. However, the possibility that a party or a government takes charge of interests of a social category also depends on many contextual elements as well as on its specific interests and position in the political worlds.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Gaxie
    • 1
  1. 1.Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne) UniversityParisFrance

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