State - Evans on Elitism, Hay.docx

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Bruce Morrison

ELITISM – EVANS  In all societies...two classes of people appear – a class that rules and a class that is ruled. The first class, always the less numerous, performs all political functions, monopolizes power and enjoys the advantages that power brings, whereas the second, the more numerous class, is directed and controlled by the first  Four key propositions underpin the classical elitist perspective on the character of political systems 1. The rulers of society constitute a socially cohesive group 2. This group is territorially based within a nation state 3. The ruling elite is close off from the ruled 4. Its members are selected by virtue of their economic, political or ideological resources  Class conflict is the commanding facet of all societies after primitive communism  More recent elitist approaches have, however become more flexible in their treatment of these issues and this has allowed for some modifications to the core propositions underpinning elite theory 1. The rulers of society are engaged in an ongoing process of competitive elitism 2. While this group remains territorially based within a nation state, due to global imperatives it will have linkages and or membership of global elite networks in order to maintain its power base in society 3. The ruling elite remains closed off from the ruled and 4. The power bases of its members are selected by virtue of a broader range of resources, economic, political, ideological and technical  A process of external hollowing out has occurred to different degrees in different states as a consequence of the differential impact of processes of globalization on domestic policy formation such as changes in the nature of geopolitics, political integration, the internationalization of financial markets and global communications  A process of internal hollowing out of the state has occurred to different degrees in different countries as a consequences of the differential impact of processes of privatization, the marketization of public services, and, decentralization on both the institutional architecture of the state and domestic policy formation  Public-private partnerships in economic development; reform of the welfare state through managed welfarism, and, reinventing government through decentralization and the opening-up of government  Epistemic community theory at the international level; the statecraft approach at the macro- level; the policy network approach at the sub-sectoral level and urban regime theory at the city level CLASSICAL ELITISM  Michels thoughts on the nature of elite structures, as it emphasizes the ominance of the leadership over the rank and file membership. Elite circulation is maintained by the inability of the masses to mobilize against the leadership view. This ensures their subjugation to the whim of the elite  Pareto argued that historical experience provides testimony to the perpetual circulation of elites and oligarchy and that every field of human enterprise has its own elite  However, in times of crisis their misplaced humanitarianism leads them towards compromise and pacifism  Pareto’s ideal system of governance would reflect a balance of forces, which exhibits characteristics of both Fox and Lion  Mosca argued that elites were inevitable as all societies are characterized by the dictatorship of the majority by the minority  Mosca’s conceptualization of the political formula has much in common with the concept of hegemony  Elite theorists have strongly disagreed about the nature, causes and consequences of elite rule in western industrialized societies  Mills his theory involved a three-level gradation of the distribution of power. At the top level were those in command of the major institutional hierarchies of modern society  The pluralist model of competing interests, Mills argued, applied only to the middle levels the semi-organized stalemate of interest group and legislative politics  A politically fragmented society of the masses occupied the bottom level  Believed that it would be a mistake to believe that the political apparatus is merely an extension of the corporate world  The power elite provided the most important critique of pluralism written from an elitist perspective. It emphasized that, far from being an independent arbiter of the national interest, the state was actually dominated by a power elite comprised of politicians, military and corporate bosses who moulded public policy to suit their own ends  The power-elite literature identifies three key dimensions of political elite integration: social homogeneity which emphasizes shared class and status origins; value consensus which focuses on agreement among elites on the rules of the game and personal interaction among elites both informally through social and personal interaction and formally through membership of common organizations  Elites are seen as fragmented rather than integrated since each is involved primarily with its own relatively narrow concerns and constituencies  Identified two central forms of power elites, exclusive and inclusive. The former exists where the power bloc is drawn from a res
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