Contemporary Western societies are witnessing ground-breaking social, economic and political changes at an accelerating pace. These changes are challenging the way democracy works and the role that political elites play in this system of government.
Using a theoretical and empirical approach, this volume argues that political elites are urged to develop new strategies in order to achieve interest aggregation, to safeguard collective action, and to maintain elite autonomy and stability. The adaptive capacities of political elites are assessed through case studies, comparative and longitudinal analyses of their social structure, their recruitment patterns, and their attitudes. The book includes contributions from reputable scholars in the field of elite research and specialists on individual political systems across Europe and the US. It provides an analytical framework demonstrating that political elites are inevitable and potentially able to respond successfully to varying challenges.
The book will be of key interest to scholars and students of political elites, democracy, comparative politics, political participation and European Politics.
1. Contested Status: Contemporary Challenges to Political Elites and Elite Responses [Lars Vogel, Ronald Gebauer, and Axel Salheiser]
PART I: Elite Autonomy and Security in Modern Democracies
2. Elite Autonomy and Post-Industrial Problems of Employment [John Higley]
3. On the (Lack of) Autonomy of Political Elites as Representatives [Jean-Pascal Daloz]
4. Economic Elites – Political Elites: Scenes from a Symbiosis [Heinrich Best]
5. European Citizens and Elites in Times of Economic Crisis and Citizen Unrest [Ursula Hoffmann-Lange and Mindaugas Kuklys]
Part II: (Changing) Elite Structure
6. Degradable Elites? Modes and Factors of Parliamentary Turnover in Europe in the Early 21st Century [Luca Verzichelli]
7. When Political Elites Select Political Elites: Insights into Accumulation of Autonomous Political Capital [Daniel Gaxie]
8. Careers of Long-Standing Legislators and Making of the Parliamentary Elite: Evidence from 25 Baltic Parliaments [Mindaugas Kuklys]
9. Recruitment of Technocrats in Romanian Cabinets [Laurenţiu Ştefan]
10. Farewell to the Party Elites? Politically Inexperienced Ministers in Central and Eastern European Cabinets [Elena Semenova]
Part III: (Changing) Elite Attitudes and Behavior
11. Irresponsible Elites in Opposition and Government: The Hungarian Case [Gabriella Ilonszki and György Lengyel]
12. Theorists of their Own Practice: Democracy as Seen by Weimar Politicians [Jens Borchert]
13. Immigration and its Consequences for European Integration: A Multi-Level Analysis of European National Representatives’ Perceptions [Ronald Gebauer and Lars Vogel]
All political systems are governed by ruling elites – presidents, prime ministers, ministers, civil servants, judges, mayors and councillors all play important roles in running our lives, while beyond the state people are picked to run international organizations. Social elites, such as global business or media tycoons, religious or ethnic leaders, play a major role influencing public policy. The books in this series examine all such political and social elites within local, national and international arenas. We are interested in theoretical and empirical analyses of elites. Whilst elites have been studied in the past, modern computing and electronic data-collection facilities mean that for the first time comprehensive information on the personal characteristics of elites, including factors such as birthplace, age, and social and educational background, can relatively easily be gathered. We can explore the ways in which people enter the elite, the networks they form and the policies they effect. Modern techniques open up exciting opportunities to examine our governors, their actions and interactions in more detail than ever before.