Increasing social inequalities in recent years have sparked public and scientific interest in the “1%” or the “elites”. When we speak of elites, we refer to “those who have vastly disproportionate ... read more
Increasing social inequalities in recent years have sparked public and scientific interest in the “1%” or the “elites”. When we speak of elites, we refer to “those who have vastly disproportionate control over or access to a resource” (Khan 2012: 362). Thus, studying elites means studying the exercise of power and the (re-)production of inequality from above – a task often overlooked by sociological inquiry.
This course will offer an introduction to the sociological study of elites. We will begin by reviewing classical writings on the topic, from authors such as Mosca, Michels and Pareto to Veblen and Bourdieu. The second part of the seminar will be dedicated to empirical research on different types of elites in Western Europe and North America. We will tackle the following questions: Who are today’s elites? How are they recruited? What resources do they have? And what role do they actually play as agents of power and inequality?
Hartmann, Michael (2006): The Sociology of Elites. London: Routledge.
Khan, Shamus (2012): The Sociology of Elites. Annual Review of Sociology 38: 361-377