The Futility Thesis

Joseph V. Femia

in Against the Masses

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780198280637
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599231 | DOI:
 The Futility Thesis

Show Summary Details


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

Chapter.  20482 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.