Classical Elite Theory: Pareto and Weber
A hundred years after Pareto and Weber wrote their major works, the elite concept and framework are not as robust as they should be. “Elite” is impoverished semantically in public usage, and classical elite theory is seldom employed in social science. Both need to be clarified and resurrected. Pareto fathered the elite concept and made it the centerpiece of an ambitious theory of society. Weber advanced a similarly ambitious theory anchored in a philosophy, methodology, and political outlook different from Pareto’s. Yet the theories of Pareto and Weber were strikingly congruent, and highlighting this congruence lends force to the explicative value of the elite concept and of elite theory today.
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