Edited By Judit Pál and Vlad Popovici
Galicia’s Parliamentary Elites in the Transition to Mass Politics
Parliamentary elites as a subset of the political elites
Parliamentary elites are groups of people who exercise political leadership and whose particular influence in state and society is based on their membership in a parliamentary body. Because of this function, they constitute a part of the entire social elite system, which also includes other groups exercising political leadership. Furthermore, elites do not exist in self-contained groups, but rather in overlapping ones; members of one elite group, that is to say, are often also members of other elite groups. This holds especially true for members of parliament prior to the formation of the modern party system and the professionalization of politics. According to Max Weber, holding a political mandate in the era of dignitaries was a point of honour, which also translated into an elevated position in society-at-large.1
A constitutional monarchy is founded on the basis of a separation of powers between the monarch and the people’s representative body. In the Habsburg Monarchy, the so-called December Constitution of 1867 provided this concept’s final form. A constitutionally established dualistic principle could now be applied to the subject of elites. On the one hand, there was a circle of elites that included the highest authority of the state, namely the Emperor. This circle was constituted by kinship (the Imperial family and court) and by the Emperor’s power to appoint the army, the highest echelons of bureaucracy, and the government. On the other hand there were...
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