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Against the MassesVarieties of Anti-Democratic Thought Since the French Revolution$
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Joseph V. Femia

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198280637

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198280637.001.0001

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The Futility Thesis

The Futility Thesis

Chapter:
(p.67) 3 The Futility Thesis
Source:
Against the Masses
Author(s):

Joseph V. Femia (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198280637.003.0003

The futility thesis argues that power elites are necessary in society. Two different types of explanation are offered: psychological and organizational. The former is illustrated through a critical analysis of the ideas of Pareto; the latter, by exploring the thought of Mosca and Michels. The futility thesis is then updated through a discussion of how increasing social complexity impacts on democracy. It is concluded that the elitists were right to highlight a tension between democracy and modernity.

Keywords:   democracy, elitism, futility thesis, Michels, modernity, Mosca, Pareto, power, social complexity

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