Elitism

  • Created by: yazminab
  • Created on: 24-04-19 15:12
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  • ELITISM
    • What do elite theorists believe?
      • Two main groups in society:
        • The rulers
        • The ruled.
      • Power in society is monopolised by a small dominant single class or minority group.
      • Elitism is inevitable due to the superior characteristics of the elite
        • More skilled, educated, organised, wealthy and talented.
      • Social Darwinism: Biologically we are programmed as to who gets what, when and how.
      • Elites make important decisions, middle classes make minor decisions. Nothing is decided by commoners.
    • US governing elite theory
      • US  governing elite is drawn from 3 areas:
        • Political leaders
          • Alexander Haig
            • Economic/business leaders
            • Military leaders
        • Military leaders
        • Economic/business leaders
      • Criticisms:
        • Mills falsely believes that those positions of power actually hold power. Potential to influence only.
        • failed to show if those in power work for the good of society or not.
    • Fragmented elite theory
      • Elite rule exists in democracies but don't believe that it is a single elite group.
      • Various elites who are competing for power.
      • Factions and groupings in political parties, e.g. Old and New Labour
      • Because elites are so divided, e.g. backbench rebellions and trade unions.
      • Problems with this theory:
        • Assume those in power actually hold real power.
        • Doesn't distinguish between Luke's 3 faces of power.
        • Doesn't identify the underlying basis of who holds power.
    • Criticisms of elitism
      • Marxists claim elitist arguments support marxist views on who has power (economic resources)
      • Doesn't prove that those in power use their position to further their interests
      • theorists are very divided:
        • how does the elite come to have power?
        • Is it inevitable?
        • How do we distinguish between the elite and the masses?
        • Is it beneficial for society?
      • Society can be classed as a meritocracy
        • Thatcher was the daughter of a grocer, police recruit based on merit etc.

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