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The birth and evolution of American elitology in the XX — early XXI century

A.P. Khlynin
80,00 Р

UDC 316.2(73)"19/200"     


A.P. Khlynin is graduate student of the Faculty of Sociology at Lomonosov Moscow State University, e-mail:


This study analyzed in details the genesis of American school of study of elites in the period from the middle of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st century. In this case the author makes an attempt to classify the main phases of American elitology from the 40s of the 20th century. Based on an analysis of papers of well-known American sociologists and political scientists who study elites, the author states the main approaches in relation to the study of elites. Thus, in the 1940s, the dominant approach to understanding elites was the liberal-democratic, according to which access to the elites is open for everyone who has extra skills in different spheres of society. At the same time stands a technocratic approach, which define elite as a group of professional managers who form a new class of technocracy. In 50s–60s liberal-democratic approach has been criticized by left-wing approach. From this point, elite was defined as a narrow layer of financiers and persons, who are close to the president, and this layer is closed. In the 60s–70s, the most popular approach of studying elites was pluralism. According to which, elite has no monolithic origin — it is a complex of interconnected independent elites. From the beginning of the 70s, the basic principles of pluralism have been criticized by neoelitism, according to which the most elite representatives included in most elite groups simultaneously. The late 20th — early 21st century can be characterized in two ways: dispute between pluralists and neoelitists and attempts to operationalize the concept of elite.

Key words: elite, upper class, USA, pluralism of elites, neoelitism.




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