Counter-elites are individuals whose views and goals differ significantly from those of the ruling body of a country and who, by their abilities, by their wealth, and/or by their heritage, occupy positions of influence in a society. In classic elite theory as developed by Vilfredo Pareto, counter-elites are more likely to mobilize against the ruling elite when social mobility is low and talented individuals are prevented from rising up the status hierarchy. A defining characteristic of counter-elites is their ability to mobilize for their cause parts of the society that are able to exert pressure on the ruling body either because of their numbers or through their financial or military power. The ruling group and counter-elites diverge in their opinions over which economic, social, ...

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