Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The concept of political class is based on the idea that politicians constitute a group with special characteristics that distinguish them from other social groups. It also contends that the members of this group share common views and interests and act with a relatively high degree of cohesiveness. The theory of the political class posits the study of this phenomenon as a crucial instrument for the understanding of political life. The main questions that have been developed within this broad theoretical field are as follows: Who are the members of the political class? What determines their special status? How and on what bases are they recruited? What are the links that keep them united? What are the forces that drive their behavior? And what determines the decline of a political class and its substitution by another one? In this entry, the origins, definitions, empirical studies, and contemporary relevance of the ...