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Elitism is the belief or attitude that those individuals who are considered members of the elite — a select group of people with outstanding personal abilities, intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight or those who view their own views as so; whose views and/or actions are most likely to be constructive to society as a whole; or whose extraordinary skills, abilities or wisdom render them especially fit to govern.[1] Alternatively, the term elitism may be used to describe a situation in which power is concentrated in the hands of the elite. Those opposed to elitism are considered supporters of anti-elitism, populism or the political theory of pluralism. Elite theory is the sociological or political science analysis of elite influence in society - elite theorists regard pluralism as a utopian ideal.

Elitism may also refer to situations in which an elite individual assumes special privileges and responsibilities in the hope that this arrangement will benefit humanity or themselves. At times, elitism is closely related to social class and what sociologists call social stratification. Members of the upper classes are sometimes known as the social elite. The term elitism is also sometimes used to denote situations in which a group of people claiming to possess high abilities or simply an in-group or cadre grant themselves extra privileges at the expense of others. This form of elitism may be described as discrimination. Such elitism has social psychological consequences [2]

Contents

Characteristics

Attributes that identify an elite vary; personal achievement may not be essential. As a term "Elite" usually describes a person or group of people who are members of the uppermost class of society and wealth can contribute to that class determination. Personal attributes commonly purported by elitist theorists to be characteristic of the elite include: rigorous study of, or great accomplishment within, a particular field; a long track record of competence in a demanding field; an extensive history of dedication and effort in service to a specific discipline (e.g., medicine or law) or a high degree of accomplishment, training or wisdom within a given field. Elitists tend to favor systems such as meritocracy, technocracy and plutocracy as opposed to radical democracy, political egalitarianism and populism.

Some synonyms for elite might be "Upper-class," or "Aristocratic," indicating that the individual in question has a relatively large degree of control over a society's means of production. This includes those who gain this position due to socioeconomic means and not personal achievement. However, these terms are misleading when discussing Elitism as a political theory as they are often associated with negative "class" connotations and fail to appreciate a more unbiased exploration of the philosophy.

Academic elitism

Elitism in the context of education is the practice of concentrating attention on or allocating funding to the best students, or those students who rank highest in a particular field of endeavour. For example, a politician who promotes specialized biochemistry classes for students deemed by conventional structures to be highly intelligent in an effort to cure diseases might be accused of elitism. Elitism in education could be based upon conventional assessment of learning ability, knowledge, or other abilities. An elite school could merely be a wealthy school or an old school.

Anti-elitism

The term elitism or the title elitist are sometimes used resentfully by people who are (or claim to be) not a member of an elite.[3] In politics, the terms are often used to describe people as out of touch with the Average Joe. The implication is that the alleged elitist person or group thinks they are better than everyone else, and therefore put themselves before others. It could be seen as a synonym for snob. An elitist is not always seen as truly elite, but only privileged. This use is often employed in politics in societies where social equality is valued and the middle and lower classes have political power.

Egalitarianism

Elitism endorses the exclusion of large numbers of people from positions of privilege or power. Thus, many populists seek the social equality of egalitarianism, populism, socialism, or communism. They may also support affirmative action, social security, luxury taxes, and increasingly high progressive taxes for the wealthiest members of society. All of these measures seek to reduce the gap of power between the elite and the ordinary.

Pluralism

Pluralism is the belief that public policy decisions should be (or, descriptively, are) the result of the struggle of forces exerted by large populations (workers, consumers, retirees, parents, etc.) directly or indirectly in the policy-making process. This is contrasted with elitism which is the belief that decisions should be (or are being) made essentially according to the interests or ideas of elites. There is a difference, however, between the idea of being more able to fulfill a political task and the actual knowing of the specialization and specifications of each corporation or other group among the general population and its particular hopes and needs, which suggests a way of cooperation which has been recently put into practice in some countries between politicians and groups of citizens which have some remote resemblances to corporatism.

See also

References

  1. ^ elitism: Definition and Much More from Answers.com
  2. ^ Kamau, C. and Rutland, A (2005) The global ‘order’, socioeconomic status and the economics of African identity. African Identities, 3 (2), 171-193. ISSN 1472-5843. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/cafi/2005/00000003/00000002/art00005
  3. ^ http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0354/is_2_45/ai_105401836/pg_3#

External links


Template:Discrimination sidebar Elitism is the belief or attitude that some individuals, who supposedly form an elite — a select group of people with intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight or those who view their own views as so; whose views and/or actions are most likely to be constructive to society as a whole; or whose extraordinary skills, abilities or wisdom render them especially fit to govern.[1] Alternatively, the term elitism may be used to describe a situation in which power is concentrated in the hands of a limited number of people. Those opposed to elitism are considered supporters of anti-elitism, populism or the political theory of pluralism. Elite theory is the sociological or political science analysis of elite influence in society - elite theorists regard pluralism as a utopian ideal.

Elitism may also refer to situations in which an individual assumes special privileges and responsibilities in the hope that this arrangement will benefit humanity or themselves. At times, elitism is closely related to social class and what sociologists call social stratification. Members of the upper classes are sometimes known as the social elite. The term elitism is also sometimes used to denote situations in which a group of people claiming to possess high abilities or simply an in-group or cadre grant themselves extra privileges at the expense of others. This form of elitism may be described as discrimination.

Contents

Characteristics

Attributes that identify an elite vary; personal achievement may not be essential. As a term "Elite" usually describes a person or group of people who are members of the uppermost class of society and wealth can contribute to that class determination. Personal attributes commonly purported by elitist theorists to be characteristic of the elite include: rigorous study of, or great accomplishment within, a particular field; a long track record of competence in a demanding field; an extensive history of dedication and effort in service to a specific discipline (e.g., medicine or law) or a high degree of accomplishment, training or wisdom within a given field. Elitists tend to favor systems such as meritocracy, technocracy and plutocracy as opposed to radical democracy, political egalitarianism and populism.

Some synonyms for "elite" might be "upper-class," or "aristocratic," indicating that the individual in question has a relatively large degree of control over a society's means of production. This includes those who gain this position due to socioeconomic means and not personal achievement. However, these terms are misleading when discussing elitism as a political theory, because they are often associated with negative "class" connotations and fail to appreciate a more unbiased exploration of the philosophy.

Academic elitism

Elitism in the context of education is the practice of concentrating attention on or allocating funding to the best students, or those students who rank highest in a particular field of endeavour. For example, a politician who promotes specialized biochemistry classes for students deemed by conventional structures to be highly intelligent in an effort to cure diseases might be accused of elitism. Elitism in education could be based on conventional assessment of learning ability, knowledge, or other abilities. However, an "elite" school could merely be a wealthy school or an old school.

Anti-elitism

The term elitism, or the title elitist, are sometimes used resentfully by people who are (or claim to be,) not a member of an elite organization.[2] In politics, the terms are often used to describe people as being out of touch with the Average Joe. The implication is that the alleged elitist person or group thinks they are better than everyone else; and, therefore, put themselves before others. It could be seen as a synonym for snob. An elitist is not always seen as truly elite, but only privileged. This definition is often used in politics; in societies in which social equality is valued, and the middle and lower classes have political power.

Egalitarianism

Elitism endorses the exclusion of large numbers of people from positions of privilege or power. Thus, many populists seek the social equality of egalitarianism, populism, socialism, or communism. They may also support affirmative action, social security, luxury taxes, and highly progressive taxes for the wealthiest members of society. All of these measures seek to reduce the difference of power between the elite and the ordinary. Nevertheless, some people consider such movements to be elitist, as well.

Pluralism

Pluralism is the belief that public policy decision(s) should be (or are,) the result of the struggle of forces exerted - directly or indirectly, - by large populations (workers, consumers, retirees, parents, etc.). This contrasts with elitism; which is the belief that decisions are, or should be, made essentially according to the interests or ideas of elites.

However, there is a difference between the idea of being more able to fulfill a political task, and the knowledge of the specialization and specifications of each corporation or other group among the general population, and its particular hopes and needs. This suggests a way of cooperation between politicians and groups of citizens. Such cooperation has some resemblances to corporatism, and has been recently put into practice in some countries.

See also

References

External links








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