Rethinking Elites: Networks, Space, and Local Politics

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Recent years have witnessed a revival of interest in researching elite groups; however the term ‘elite’ has remained largely untheorised and unproblematised in much of the resulting literature. I attempt to question what is meant by the term ‘elite’, how the term may be given a deeper conceptual relevance, and what the consequences of this might be for the study of elites. Through a critical review of conventional elite theory, and a discussion of concepts of society and power, three elements of elite definition are identified, focusing on access to resources, networking, and discursive construction. These are then illustrated with reference to local political elites in Somerset. I discuss the potential for a distinctively geographical contribution to the study of elites, through an exploration of the places and spaces in which elites are formed and interact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2101-2119
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 1998


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