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Democratic Elitism Reappraised

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

During the postwar decades following Joseph Schumpeter's seminal Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, democratic elitism struck many as an apt and insightful description of how representative democracy works – even though convinced democrats detected an "elitist" thrust they found disturbing. But during the last several decades political elites and leaders have wielded more power and influence in Western democracies than Schumpeter and his early adherents acknowledged. If it is to retain relevance and utility, democratic elitism must incorporate the now more evident roles elites and leaders play.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Sociology, Friedrich-Schiller University, 07743 Jena, Germany; 2: Government and Sociology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712-1087, USA


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