קול קורא // עדכון דדליין // למאמרים (כתב עת): אליטות וביקורת על אליטות מהמאה ה-19 עד המאה ה-21 [אנגלית, גרמנית] דדליין לתקצירים=30.6.20

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Elites and the Critique of Elites from the 19th to the 21st Centuries

Call for papers, deadline 30 June 2020

Call for Papers
Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 61 (2021)

Elites and the Critique of Elites from the 19th to the 21st Centuries

In the decades after the Second World War, elites had a rather good image. They were attributed high qualifications, namely the capacity for leadership and a high performance capability. In the Western world it even became a widespread view that elites are indispensable for democracies and can be brought in line with the equalizing tendencies of the modern welfare state. In the recent age of globalization, however, elites have increasingly fallen into disrepute. In current debates, right-wing populists, in the name of the »real« people, present political elites as out of touch with reality and only in pursuit of their egoistic interests. Leftist anti-capitalists identify those among the elites who profit economically from globalization as well as the »super-rich« as forces that obstruct the realization of their ideals of justice.
In political and social discourse, the term elite is thus connected with questions about the organization of power and with far-reaching ideas about social order and political designs for the future. In this perspective, elites are a promising field of inquiry also for historical research. Historians use the term elite – comparable to sociologists – as an analytical or descriptive category. Elites are hence understood as groups within the upper strata of society who occupy leadership roles in different fields of the state, society, politics or culture, and who have a crucial role in decision-making processes. A social history of elites promises insights into fundamental social structures of society, into the distribution and legitimation of power and into the chances for political participation in the process of societal changes since the late eighteenth century.

We invite historians and scholars who work in cultural studies and the social sciences from a historical angle to reflect on the social history of elites from the nineteenth to the early twenty-first century. We anticipate studies on elites from different fields in the economy, society, politics and culture: for instance, but not exclusively, members of the aristocracy, entrepreneurs, high-level clerics, managers, intellectuals, upper-level civil servants, but also politicians, party functionaries and leading artists. The focus should be on questions about recruitment patterns of elites in a socio-historical perspective. From the vantage point of cultural history, mechanisms through which influence is exerted, self-perceptions and legitimization strategies of elites can be analysed. Of high relevance are also studies of the
critique of elites, which allow to understand the formation and the patterns of agency among elites. We do also welcome contributions on the history of theories of elites in sociology and cultural studies insofar as they help to inform historical research into elites. We envisage contributions that connect with one of the following four major themes.

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