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Associated Rivals: Antagonism and Cooperation in the German Political Elite

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

This article explores the failures and achievements of democratic elitism in Germany. I first outline the conditions in which concepts of leader democracy and democratic elitism were set forth by Max Weber and Joseph Schumpeter during the first half of the twentieth century. I then argue that democratic elitism can usefully be reformulated in terms of principal-agent theory and William Sumner's theory of antagonistic cooperation. I present empirical findings from a study of elite conflict and consensus in re-unified Germany that are consistent with these theories, and I suggest that democratic elitism should incorporate both.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Sociology, Friedrich-Schiller University, 07743 Jena, Germany

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/content/journals/10.1163/156913309x447602
2009-06-01
2016-12-02

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