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Chapter 35

MSL Chapter 35

Course Code
Mc Kinon

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MSL Ch.35 – The Power Elite by C.Wright Mills
There are people in society who are not like everyone else (ordinary), they have power so they can
look down upon and make decisions that can affect peoples everyday worlds
Jacob Burckhardtsaid about great men” that they are all that we are not we might as well
say this about elite
Power elit e comp o sed of men wh o se p o sitio n s enable them to transc e nd the ordinary
enviro n ments of ordinary men & women
oMake d e cisio n s wit h major co n seq u enc e s
oTheir failure to a c t wo uld b e gre a ter co n seq u enc e
oRule big corp oratio n s, run ma c hinery of state
oDirec t milit ary establishment
Below them are the p oliticians of mid dle level of p ower, in the co n g res s and in the pres s ure
gro u p s
oMingling wit h them are c elebs wh o live by b eing co n ti n u ally displayed
The elit e often are u n c ertain of their roles
oNo mat t er h ow gre a t their a c tual p ower, they tend to b e les s a c utely aware of it than
resistanc e s of others to its u se
Most Americ a n men of affairs h ave le arned the rhetoric of p u blic relatio n s, an d comin g to b e
Grou p of p pl b eli eve that there must b e an elit e of p ower b y looking at history b o mb was
dro p p ed o v er Japan in the n ame of the U.S.A
oThese p pl infer that there is a g ro up which makes d e cisio n s o r fails to make them the
elit e, and they h ave gre a t p ower
On o ther h an d , p pl b eli eve that there is n o elit e wh o se p owers are of d e cisive co n seq u enc e
Must take into a c c o u n t the major insti t utio n s of mo d ern society
oThese hierarchies of state/corp oration and army co n sti t ute the me a ns of p ower
oThey offer the sociologic al key to an u n d erstan din g of the role of the hig h er circles in
Americ a
Wit hin Americ a , major n ation al p owers reside in e c o n o mic, p olitic al, and milit ary d o mains
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