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Abstract With regard to the study of politics this essay will attempt to define elitism citing the major founders of the discipline Pluralism and rational choice theory will also be discussed in turn with particular attention to the main assumptions involved in the application of the theories All three disciplines will be criticised and compared on any assumptions that seem to differ or oppose each other A conclusion will be made summing up the merits of the disciplines but acknowledging that politics is best viewed from an open perspective It could be argued that politics is everywhere from the debates and decisions of a powerful government to an argument between family members There are many different ways of studying politics each with different emphases theories and assumptions Three of these are elitism pluralism and rational choice theory or the economic approach to politics Though they analyse the same systems and institutions the assumptions that the approaches use mean they see politics in diverse ways Elitism claims to be a realist approach to politics It argues a reality of elite rule where minorities with expertise in their field form an elite and have considerable power over the majority Sceptical about democracy elitists see elites everywhere in all institutions and are critical of other approaches to the study of politics as they do not acknowledge the power or even existence of elites It is possible to bring a normative approach to elitism as well as the empirical aspect or realist view The normative approach would argue that elites should rule as they are people of superior character and energy Mills 195613 Classical elitism and the assumptions associated with it are generally attributed to three main theorists Vilfredo Pareto wrote that within the general elite of society there is a governing elite which concerns itself with politics and government He argued that most governing elites would fail in self-perpetuation and so a
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