JACEK WASILEWSKI (Kraków, Poland) THE INTEGRA TION OF THE POLISH POST-TRANSITION ELITE Integration and differentiation: Three models of post-transitional elites In elite studies great importance is attributed to elite integration. Classical approaches emphasize the coherence of an elite and its exclusive character, that is, barriers of birth, wealth, prestige, interpersonal contacts and, most im- portantly, power. The common values, goals and interests of elites are founded on similar background, education, professional experience, social af- filiations and family relations. James Meisel aptly synthesized the classical approach in the formula of three "C's": group consciousness, coherence and conspiracy. i Critics of elites used to stress the homogeneous character of elites, perceiv- ing them as a threat to democratic, egalitarian and achievement oriented so- cieties. This threat was said to include political authoritarianism (or even dic- tatorship), economic exploitation of the masses, rejection of the principle of equal opportunity and the elite's realization of their own interests at the cost of public interest. C. Wright Mill's conception of the power elite, that is, of the integrated minority holding the highest positions in the economic, mili- tary, and political structures and monopolizing strategic decisions, illustrates well this critical perspective perspective on elites.2
The Soviet and Post Soviet Review – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1999
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