This book deals with the reception of Italian elitism in the United States, identifying its key protagonists, phases, and themes. It starts from the reconstruction of the scientific and political debates aroused in the United States by the works of Mosca, Pareto, and Michels, and moves on to define their theoretical influence in the American scientific and academic contexts. The analysis takes into consideration the period from the first contact between elitists and American academia in the early 1920s to the publication of The Power Elite by Mills, in 1956, which marks the emancipation of American elitism. After introducing the fundamental principles of elite theory, the first part of the study reconstructs the debate that it aroused beyond the Atlantic. The second part examines the original American reworking of the elitist lesson, concentrating on the works of the authors most strongly influenced by it: Joseph A. Schumpeter, Harold D. Lasswell, and Charles W. Mills. The book aims to shed light on the contribution of Italian elitism to the development of American political thought.
Table of Contents
1. The Italian School of Elitism
2. Politics in Transformation
3. The Two Faces of Elitism
4. From the People to the Elites
5. We, the Elite
Giorgio Volpe is Lecturer at the Università della Svizzera Italiana.