Introduction: Social and Political Elites in Modern Democracies

Comparative Studies of Social and Political Elites

ISBN: 978-0-76231-379-2, eISBN: 978-1-84950-466-9

ISSN: 0195-6310

Publication date: 11 December 2006


The fruitful development of the theory of elites within the framework of democratic societies, naturally presupposes ample empirical work, allowing broad descriptions of elite structure. Unfortunately, representative data on modern social elites are still relatively scarce. The most ambitious attempt to cover elite formation in Europe is restricted to the political sphere, a large longitudinal data set on parliamentary elites, covering members of parliament in 12 European countries over a period of 150 years (Best & Cotta, 2000). On a more ad hoc basis data sets covering broader sections of European national elites have been collected in Germany, the Nordic countries, and Eastern Europe. These data sets are utilized in several of the articles in the present volume.


Engelstad, F. (2006), "Introduction: Social and Political Elites in Modern Democracies", Engelstad, F. and Gulbrandsen, T. (Ed.) Comparative Studies of Social and Political Elites (Comparative Social Research, Vol. 23), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-9.

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