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Elite Distinction: Grand Theory and Comparative Perspectives

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Most of the major social theorists have addressed the issue of distinction. Largely ignoring each other's views on the matter, they have mainly sought to integrate their discussion within their respective grand theories. The main defect is that, often extrapolating from the analysis of one particular case, they have claimed to provide sociological laws. On the basis of personal field work as well as a sound acquaintance with the literature dealing with elite groups, the author aims at suggesting how differences from one society to another challenge universalistic understanding. Although comparative research proves to make it impossible to accept any general theory of distinction, the article, however, shows that many classical perspectives are worthy of note if taken as partially valid.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Political Studies, Bordeaux, France; University of Oslo, Norway


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