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Representative Elites

  • Heinrich Best
  • Lars Vogel
Chapter

Abstract

Members of parliament in representative democracies can be considered as representative elites, since they have decisive impact on policies and the institutional order of the polity and they support or overthrow governments. They are elected and entrusted with the contravening tasks of representing conflicting societal interests and of integrating them into decisions valid for the entire society. Their social setting is constituted by multiple principal-agent relations, competition and antagonistic cooperation. They have to take into account their multiple principals like the population, their party or their regional constituency to maintain their status, which gives them in turn means and resources to curb the risks of this precarious situation. Contradicting interests of citizens and representative elites are thus inevitable, but their traits, social background, recruitment patterns or political professionalization can fuel or temper the resulting antagonism.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heinrich Best
    • 1
  • Lars Vogel
    • 1
  1. 1.Friedrich Schiller UniversityJenaGermany

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