The Inner Circle Revisited: The Case of an Egalitarian Society

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The interlocks within the corporate elite in a highly egalitarian society, the negotiated economy of the Scandinavian welfare state of Denmark, are examined by critically reassessing Michael Useem’s notion of the inner circle. Using a new measure of social circles memberships based on proximity in social networks, we identify a cohesive core group of 171 individuals within a corporate elite of 6154 board members of the top 1037 Danish corporations. A high degree of social homogeneity in gender, social background, education and career position underlines the cohesion of the inner circle. By mapping business association committees, political commissions, university governing boards, cultural institutions, social clubs, foundations and royal events, the inner-circle members are shown to be representatives of the entire capitalist class in key sectors. This suggests that ongoing opposition to the capitalist class enhances the need for collective action, and thus paradoxically strengthens the unity of the corporate elite.
The interlocks within the corporate elite in a highly egalitarian society, the negotiated economy of the Scandinavian welfare state of Denmark, are examined by critically reassessing Michael Useem’s notion of the inner circle. Using a new measure of social circles memberships based on proximity in social networks, we identify a cohesive core group of 171 individuals within a corporate elite of 6154 board members of the top 1037 Danish corporations. A high degree of social homogeneity in gender, social background, education and career position underlines the cohesion of the inner circle. By mapping business association committees, political commissions, university governing boards, cultural institutions, social clubs, foundations and royal events, the inner-circle members are shown to be representatives of the entire capitalist class in key sectors. This suggests that ongoing opposition to the capitalist class enhances the need for collective action, and thus paradoxically strengthens the unity of the corporate elite.
LanguageEnglish
JournalSocio-Economic Review
Volume16
Issue number2
Pages251–275
Number of pages25
ISSN1475-1461
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Elites
  • Welfare state
  • Social networks
  • Social capital
  • Scandinavia
  • Class

Cite this

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The Inner Circle Revisited : The Case of an Egalitarian Society. / Grau Larsen, Anton; Ellersgaard, Christoph.

In: Socio-Economic Review, Vol. 16, No. 2, 04.2018, p. 251–275.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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