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Elite And Leadership Change In Liberal Democracies

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents and assesses the thesis that a shift in the character of governing elites and leaders has been occurring in several important liberal democracies during recent years. Ascendant elites are more leonine and top leaders are more pugnacious. The ways in which leaders and elites affect each other is a knotty problem in political analysis. A fair amount of research shows that in liberal democracies elite structures consist of extended circles and networks of political influence and personal acquaintance that tie together several thousand of the uppermost figures in politics, government administration, business, trade unions, the media, a bevy of interest groups, and so on. Pareto and Weber lived in countries and at a time when elite conflicts and rivalries between leaders were-and had always been-largely unchecked.

Keywords:forceful leaders; liberal democracies; political elite



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