Democratic Elitism: New Theoretical and Comparative Perspective

Democratic Elitism: New Theoretical and Comparative Perspective

Edited by: Heinrich Best

Release date: Jan 2010

Brill Publishers, Leiden

ISBN: 978 90 04 17939 4

More About this Book

Joseph Schumpeter’s “competitive theory of democracy” – often labeled democratic elitism - has struck many as an apt and insightful description of how representative democracy works, even though convinced democrats detect an elitist thrust they find disturbing. But neither Schumpeter nor subsequent defenders of democratic elitism have paid enough attention to actual behaviors of leaders and elites. Attention has been riveted on how adequately democratic elitism captures the relationship between governors and governed in its insistence that competitive elections prevent the relationship from being one-way, that is, leaders and elites largely unaccountable to passive and submissive voters. Why and how leaders and elites create and sustain competitive elections, what happens if their competitions become excessively stage-managed or belligerent – how, in short, leaders and elites really act - are some of the issues this book addresses.

Heinrich Bestis Professor of Sociology at the University of Jena in Germany. John Higleyis Professor of Government and Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and Chair of the IPSA Research Committee on Political Elites (RC02).


List price EUR 89. / US$ 132.