At a time when significant social status, economic resources, and political opportunities seem to become ever more unequally distributed and only available to a few, this book represents the first systematic effort in recent years to develop a sociological model of elites and non-elites. In outlining a new typology of economic, political, and cultural elites, as well as drawing attention to the important role of non-elites, this accessibly written book provides novel insights into the structure of historical and contemporary societies. Milner identifies the sources and structures of economic, political, and cultural power, and investigates patterns of cooperation and conflict between and within elite groups. Analyzing politicians and propagandists, landowners and capitalists, national heroes and celebrities, ordinary folks and outcasts, the book applies its model to three distinctly different societies ancient India, Classical Athens, and the contemporary United States highlighting important structural commonalities across these otherwise very dissimilar societies.
A significant contribution to scholarship, Elites will also be useful for an array of courses in sociology, political science, and history.