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John Higley's work an elite foundations of social theory and politics

Elitetheoretische Grundlagen sozialwissenschaftlicher Theoriebildung und politischer Analyse
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Pakulski, Jan

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Abstract "John Higley' s work traverses the boundaries of sociology, history and politics in the best tradition of classical social theory, and it has inspired countless scholars across Europe, North America, Australia and Asia. This inspiration has worked on three fronts: paradigmatic, theoretical and empirical. Higley and his colleagues revived the 'elite paradigm' focusing on top national power-holders, where elites are seen as the key social actors and agents of social and political change. An interest in elite theory was also stimulated by his work, especially with respect to the relationship between the key characteristics of national elites, such as their integration and consensus, and the nature (democratic or otherwise) of political regimes. This theoretical work inspired numerous critical analyses of elite transformations that precipitated the post-WWII 'halcyon years' of stability and growth in Europe and North America, the liberal-democratic transformations in post-communist Europe, as well as the recent turbulences: the financial crisis and a prolonged economic slowdown. The work of Higley and colleagues also continues to inspire a revival of macro-theoretical interests, especially in the European social theory, social-historical research, and theoretically informed political analysis." (author's abstract)
Keywords elite; elite research; theory of society; theory formation; basic research; paradigm; democracy; political regime; Western Europe; United States of America; post-communist society; Russia; East Central Europe; transformation; Eastern Europe; market economy; gender; woman; consolidation; political change; Europe; North America; USSR successor state; post-socialist country
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; General Sociology, Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Sociology, Sociological Theories
Method basic research; theory formation
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 9-20
Journal Historical Social Research, 37 (2012) 1
Issue topic Elite foundations of social theory and politics / Elitetheoretische Grundlagen sozialwissenschaftlicher Theoriebildung und politischer Analyse
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works