The Swedish Civil society Elite: A Very Political Elite

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    Abstract

    Little is known about the elites of civil society. While elite scholars focus on the power elite, civil society is associated with bottom‐up forms of organizing, thus largely neglecting those at the top of civil society organizations (CSOs). In this paper, I start remedying this by analyzing certain prosopographical characteristics of the Swedish civil society elite. The paper asks the question: How are civil society elites integrated in the elite in a parliamentary
    democratic and egalitarian country with a large public sector and a history of influential social movement? In order to answer this question, the paper uses descriptive statistics and Social Network Analysis to analyze biographical data from the Swedish Who’s Who (Vem är det?) from 1997. Building on literature on Swedish civil society, three integration hypotheses are tested, stating that the integration of Swedish civil society elites are either integrated through 1) hegemonic struggle, 2) political oligarchy, or 3) subordination to the power elite. All three are found to have merit, but the overall conclusion is that the Sedish
    civil society elite is characterized by homophily and high network density owing to the historical influence of social movements, the expansion of the welfare state, and a Nordic tradition for ‘moral elite’ or expert rule.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2022
    Number of pages33
    Publication statusPublished - 2022
    EventECPR General Conference - SOWI Campus, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
    Duration: 22 Aug 202226 Aug 2022

    Conference

    ConferenceECPR General Conference
    LocationSOWI Campus, University of Innsbruck
    Country/TerritoryAustria
    CityInnsbruck
    Period22/08/202226/08/2022

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