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In view of the drastically growing divide between rich and poor, people in many industrialized countries are asking about the responsibility of elites for society. Are the activities of elites determined primarily by their responsibility for the common good of the population or by their interest in enlarging their own power and wealth?
This book pursues two aims in attempting to come up with an answer to this question. Its first aim is to present a well-founded overview of the most important sociological elite theories, ranging from the classics in the field, Mosca, Michels, and Pareto, to Dahrendorf, Keller, and Bourdieu. Its second is to use the examples of the world’s five largest industrialized nations (France, Germany, the UK, Japan, and the US) to empirically demonstrate how the elites of a given country, above all the political and economic elites, are recruited and how they cooperate with one another.
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Michael Hartmann is Professor of Sociology at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany.
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