© 1997

Elites in Transition

Elite Research in Central and Eastern Europe

  • Heinrich Best
  • Ulrike Becker

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages 1-6
  2. Heinrich Best
    Pages 7-11
  3. Jacek Wasilewski
    Pages 13-39
  4. Tibor Huszár
    Pages 41-59
  5. Petr Matĕjů
    Pages 61-76
  6. Zuzana Kusá
    Pages 77-89
  7. Helmut Steiner
    Pages 107-132
  8. B. M. Firsov
    Pages 133-147
  9. Vladimir Kopylov
    Pages 171-202
  10. Hanjo Gergs, Christopher Hausmann, Markus Pohlmann
    Pages 203-248
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 249-250

About this book


"Who rules in Eastern Europe?" became a fundamental question for western researchers and other observers after communist regimes were established in the region, and it gained further importance as state socialism expanded into Central Europe after the Second World War. A political order which, according to Leninist theory of the state and to subsequent Stalinist political practice, was primarily a highly centralised and repressive power organisation, directed, as if it were natural, researchers attention towards the highest echelon of office holders in party and state. Extreme centralisation of power in these regimes was consequently linked to an elitist approach to analysing them from a distant viewpoint. It is one of the many paradoxes of state socialism, that a social and political order which presumptuously claimed to be the final destination of historical development and to be based on deterministic laws of social evolution, which claimed an egalitarian nature and denied the significance of the individual, was per­ ceived through the idiosyncrasies, rivalries and personal traits of its rulers. The largest part of these societies remained in grey obscurity, onlyoccasion­ ally revealing bits of valid information about a social life distant from the centres of power. It is debatable whether this top-headedness of western re­ search into communist societies created a completely distorted picture of re­ ality, however, it certainly contributed to an overestimation of the stability of these regimes, an underestimation of their factual diversity and a misjudge­ ment of the extent of conflicts and cleavages dividing them.


Europe Evolution Nation Transformation nature organization socialism

Editors and affiliations

  • Heinrich Best
    • 1
  • Ulrike Becker
  1. 1.Department of Methods of Empirical Social Research and Structural Analysis of Modern Societies at the Institute of SociologyFriedrich Schiller University of JenaJenaGermany

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Elites in Transition
  • Book Subtitle Elite Research in Central and Eastern Europe
  • Editors Heinrich Best
    Ulrike Becker
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften | Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, Wiesbaden 1997
  • Publisher Name VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-8100-1844-1
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-663-09922-2
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages , 250
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Regional and Cultural Studies
    Social Policy
    Sociology, general
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