Historical Social Research

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Jan Pakulski, The Weberian Foundations of Modern Elite Theory and Democratic Elitism [Abstract]
 

Max Weber’s portrayal of modern elites shows clear proximity to “classical elite theory,” modern “elite perspective,” and “democratic elitism.” This portrayal – stressing power concentration in the state apparata, legitimacy of rule, centrality of leadership groups, and the capacity of these groups to form cohesive power actors – anticipates many central themes in the work of contemporary elite theorists, such as John Higley, whose theoretical attention focuses on patterns of elite integration and ruling consensus as the key “elite variables.” Higley’s seminal studies, especially those linking such elite integration and ruling consensus with political outcomes and regime types, combine the classical elite-theoretical heritage with the Weberian “supplements,” the latter stressing the variable internal structure of “ruling minorities” that form in modern nation states. The Weberian elite perspective and theoretical model have been substantiated, elaborated and extended in research undertaken by John Higley and his collaborators.