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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 March 2021

The Futility Thesis

The Futility Thesis

(p.67) 3 The Futility Thesis
Against the Masses

Joseph V. Femia (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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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