• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The SAGE Handbook of Political Science presents a major retrospective and prospective overview of the discipline. Comprising three volumes of contributions from expert authors from around the world, the handbook aims to frame, assess and synthesize research in the field, helping to define and identify its current and future developments. It does so from a truly global and cross-area perspective. Chapters cover a broad range of aspects, from providing a general introduction to exploring important subfields within the discipline. Each chapter is designed to provide a state-of-the-art and comprehensive overview of the topic by incorporating cross-cutting global, interdisciplinary, and, where this applies, gender perspectives. The Handbook is arranged over seven core thematic sections: Part 1: Political Theory; Part 2: Methods; Part 3: Political Sociology; Part ...

Elites
Elites
Ursula Hoffmann-Lange
Introduction

Elites are a universal phenomenon of organized social life. Leaders emerge even in small groups. Complex organizations and, even more so, entire societies usually possess an internal division of labor involving a complex hierarchical system for fulfilling different tasks essential for their successful management. Elites are the people at the top of powerful political institutions and organizations in a society. Using the term elite suggests the existence of a cohesive elite formation with a common interest in preserving the current distribution of power, while using the term elites assumes an elite formation including a plurality of elite groups pursuing different or even conflicting interests.

Hierarchies inevitably produce internal conflicts over the distribution of power and rewards. The chances ...

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