Socio-Economic Review

19 juillet 18

Primus inter pares? The French field of power and its power elite

Par François Denord; Paul Lagneau-Ymonet; Sylvain Thine

The sociology of ‘elites’ usually identifies prominent persons and their connections. Instead, we construct a system of relations between the social characteristics attached to positions of power that are occupied by relatively interchangeable individuals. We use multiple correspondence analysis to represent the French field of power and to locate its power elite. Four main axes structure the former: integration into the economy, class seniority, forms of delegated power and publicity. The position of the power elite signals its members’ detachment from the legitimate sources of power upon which liberal democracies are ostensibly founded: individual achievement and elected office.

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