Elite Connection: Problems and Potential of Western Democracy

Overview

Designed as a textbook for courses in political theory, political sociology and comparative politics, and as a contribution in its own right, this book explores the role of elite relations as a key to understanding democracy.

Following a critical review of the literature on democracy and elites, the author argues that although Western democracy is not 'government by the people' and has not created equality, it is unique in that (more than any other regime) it has generated a ...

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Overview

Designed as a textbook for courses in political theory, political sociology and comparative politics, and as a contribution in its own right, this book explores the role of elite relations as a key to understanding democracy.

Following a critical review of the literature on democracy and elites, the author argues that although Western democracy is not 'government by the people' and has not created equality, it is unique in that (more than any other regime) it has generated a relative separation of power holders, or a relative autonomy of elites and sub-elites in the control of resources. Developing this argument the author discloses strengths and weaknesses in democracy's infrastructure.

The Elite Connection contains a warning that a major danger to democracy stems from the tendency of elites to make incursions into the autonomy of other elites, and to develop excessively close dependency relations, either in subjugation of them, or in collusion with them, which result in threats to civil liberties and to the very foundations of democracy. It argues, however, that democracy has the built-in potential to counter its own subversions. Although it focuses on elites, the book has an egalitarian perspective: it concludes with the argument that the separation of elites makes possible struggles for greater equality. The still relatively independent elites of social movements have the potential of pushing democracy towards greater participation and equality.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745608914
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/1993
  • Pages: 239

Meet the Author


Eva Etzioni-Halevy is the author of several previous books including Bureaucracy and Democracy (Routledge and Kegan Paul, revised edition, 1985); The Knowledge Elite and the Failure of Prophecy (George Allen & Unwin, 1985); and Fragile Democracy (Transaction Publishers, 1989).
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction: the elite connection and Western-style democracy 1
Pt. I Elites and Classes: Bringing Elites Back In
1 Why class theory has overshadowed elite theory: a matter of coincidence 13
2 Why class theory should not have overshadowed elite theory: a matter of democracy 34
Pt. II The Autonomy of Elites and Western Thought
3 Democratic elite theory 53
4 Other theories: a comparison 67
Pt. III The Demo-elite Perspective
5 The autonomy of elites and democracy 91
6 Elite autonomy versus cooperation and the historical development of democracy 109
Pt. IV The Autonomy of Elites and the Success (or Failure) of Democracy
7 Stabilization versus breakdown of democracy: the cases of Britain and Germany 125
8 Problems of transition to democracy in Eastern Europe: the cases of the Soviet Union and Poland 151
Pt. V Meanwhile in the West: Problems and Potential of Democracy
9 Elite autonomy under siege and problems of Western democracy 177
10 Social protest movements and the potential of Western democracy 199
Conclusion 215
References 218
Index 233
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