The Decline of Political Party Elite
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Opole University
Publication date: 2019-03-26
Polish Sociological Review 2019;205(1):3-18
In this article, the author presents a claim that, in parallel to the end of mass parties, it is possible to observe the progressing decline of elites within political parties. This phenomenon manifests itself on the following three levels: 1) a theoretical level—less and less attention is paid to elites in the theory of political parties as their place is being taken over by other approaches, in particular leadership theory; 2) a terminological level—the notion of elites is being removed from analyses devoted to political parties and supplanted by other terms such us “leaders.” They are sometimes considered as the synonyms of the word “elite”; 3) a factual level—there are strong reasons to presume that the decline in the importance of elites within political parties is an objective phenomenon related to the general revaluations taking place in contemporary political parties. Such revaluations cause changes in the distribution of power within political parties—party leaders and narrow groups of decision makers gain in importance at the expense of elites.
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