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The studies of the influences of financialisation on elites and power: a summary

International Social Science Journal (Chinese Edition)

No.1, 2021

 

The studies of the influences of financialisation on elites and power: a summary

(Abstract)

 

WU Wenyao

 

Not long ago, Theory Culture & Society (TCS) published a special issue under the theme “elites and power after financialisation,” to  argue for a reset of elite studies around a new agenda which can engage the diversity of present-day social sciences. Its editors believe this is a huge opportunity for academic elite studies. They begins by returning to the original political project and Weberian problematic which animated the works of Michels and Mills, two famous elite researchers. Their shared reference point in the 1910s and 1950s was mass democracy, as both answered questions about how democracy was frustrated by the bureaucracies of mass parties or a triangle of power. The editors’ proposal starts from an explicit reflection on the (often contestable or obsolete) assumptions that Michels and Mills made in their argument. They try to set out how and why financialisation is the key to the reset of elite studies. This is because it is economically crucial to the transfer of wealth and income upwards, and also intellectually broad enough as a reference point for different perspectives, so that it requires collaborative understanding and suggests specific nodes of investigation.