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Elite Distinction: Grand Theory And Comparative Perspectives

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Chapter Summary

There is an abundance of theories related to elite distinction. This chapter discusses the usefulness of these analytical grids (manifesting generalizing ambitions) for comparativists dealing with the realities of the present-day world or with historical enquiries. Sociologists are increasingly recognizing cultural dimensions. Drawing from the socio-anthropological literature on elites from various parts of the world the chapter sheds doubt on some models leaning toward a reductionist line of reasoning. Although comparative research proves the total acceptance of any ubiquitous theory of social distinction impossible, the author concludes that some aspects of several classical perspectives are nevertheless valid. The limitation of their interpretations when confronted with the concrete study of elite distinction calls not for their total rejection but for an eclectic approach.

Keywords:elite distinction; socio-anthropological literature



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