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Elites in the New Democracies

Matevž Tomšič

The book deals with the analysis of key political actors in the ‘new democracies’ from Central and Eastern Europe. It is focused on character of elites, particularly political ones, and their role in the process of societal change. The author argues that elite configuration in terms of relationships between different elite factions as well as their cultural profile has strong impact on developmental dynamics of these societies. Although – at least in some countries from the region – political elites have managed to build the institutional foundations of systems of a market economy and a parliamentary democracy, with only small chances of any reverses taking place, they have been much less successful in establishing mechanisms for society’s self-organisation.

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Introduction .............................................................................................................9 I. Elites in modern societies .........................................................................13 1. Elites as social phenomenon – between power and knowledge ...........13 2. Thematisation of elites ................................................................................15 2.1 Classical elite theory ........................................................................... 15 2.2 Theories of elites in contemporary societies ................................... 16 3. Elites and social differentiation .................................................................18 3.1 The complexity of modern societies ................................................. 18 3.2 Differentiation of ‘strategic elites’...................................................... 20 3.3 Elite recruitment ................................................................................. 22 4. Political spheres and the political elite ....................................................23 4.1 Politics and steering of society .......................................................... 23 4.2 Modern polity as democratic polity ................................................. 26 4.3 Types of real-existing democracies ................................................... 28 4.4 Modern non-democratic regimes ..................................................... 31 4.5 Mature democracy as an ‘extended polyarchy’ ............................... 34 4.6 Political elite as the ruler of society .................................................. 36 4.7 The political elite and the character of the political regime .......... 40 5. Elites and social change ..............................................................................42 II. The political system in transition .........................................................45 6. Post-communist transformation as systemic modernisation ...............45 6.1 Communism and its ‘fake’ modernity .............................................. 46 6.2 Societal modernisation ...................................................................... 48 6.3 Introduction of democracy as political modernisation ................. 51 67. The political system and systemic transformation of society ................52 8. Character of the political elite and dynamics of the systemic transformation ..................................................................55 III. Political elites in post-communist societies .....................................57 9. Formation of post-communist political elite ...........................................57 9.1 The role historical legacy.................................................................... 57 9.2 The pre-communist tradition in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe .......................................................... 58 9.3 Main traits of the communist nomenklatura .................................. 60 9.4 Formation of the counter-elite during communist period ............ 61 9.5 Communist party, opposition and the dismantling of the ‘old regime’ ............................................................................... 67 9.6 Configuration of the post-communist...

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