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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2008

GOV 365N • Elites and Politics

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39403 W
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
CBA 4.336
Higley, J

Course Description

What happens among the few thousand persons in any modern society who have the organized capacity to affect political outcomes regularly and substantially - the political elite  comprises the bulk of politics. However, democratic, Marxist, modernization, civil society, political culture, and other paradigms and approaches in political science and political sociology have long denied this, claiming that what citizenries and mass publics think and do and/or what happens in economies are the main determinants of political outcomes. Not so, say adherents of the elite approach, although the importance of political elites is no cause for rejoicing. This weekly seminar course will introduce students to classical elite and neo-elite perspectives on politics. Part I will concentrate on types of political elites and associated political regimes worldwide and on how elites and regimes are sometimes transformed. Part II will concentrate on the American political elite's circulation and quality today. Throughout, much attention will be paid to mounting pressures on political elites.


G. William Domhoff, Who Rules America? 5th edition, McGraw Hill, 2006 (paperback) John Higley and Michael Burton, Elite Foundations of Liberal Democracies. Rowman & Littlefield 2006 (paperback). Geraint Parry, Political Elites. 2nd edition with a new introduction, ECPR Classics, 2006 (paperback) There will also be a few handouts for required reading during the semester.


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