The Social Closure of the Cultural Elite. The Case of Artists in Sweden, 1945–2004 [chapter]

Martin Gustavsson, Andreas Melldahl
2020 Researching Elites and Power  
A central concern in research on elites and ruling classes has always been the degree to which social elites manage to monopolise the resources required to reach the positions they hold. There is a normative element to this concern, revealed for instance by the public 'power surveys' conducted in the Nordic countries. Here, the attention is directed towards trying to gauge which social strata are represented within different elite groups. An open, representative elite is considered to be more
more » ... mocratic -and hence 'better' -than a closed elite (cf. SOU 1990:44; NOU 2003:19; Togeby 2003) . However, the concern is also clearly related to classical sociological questions on class formation and class reproduction. How do privileged groups -classes as well as elites -manage to occupy central positions and to what extent do they succeed in retaining power, by limiting the access to such positions? In this chapter, we discuss ways to study the position-takings and the social reproduction of powerful groups. We are especially interested in whether processes of social closure seem to be in operation. Closure theory describes the processes through which insiders circumvent the possibilities of outsiders to participate in the competition over scarce resources on equal terms. The fact that the monopolised benefits can be 'appropriated' on a more or less 'permanent basis' by certain groups is relevant to our study (Weber 1963, p. 44). We also orient our study towards the M. Gustavsson (*)
doi:10.1007/978-3-030-45175-2_18 fatcat:tnwbcjvxorhojntytcckdl4giu