Contemporary Western societies are witnessing ground-breaking social, economic and political changes at an accelerating pace. These changes are challenging the way democracy works and the role that political elites play in this system of government.

Using a theoretical and empirical approach, this volume argues that political elites are urged to develop new strategies in order to achieve interest aggregation, to safeguard collective action, and to maintain elite autonomy and stability. The adaptive capacities of political elites are assessed through case studies, comparative and longitudinal analyses of their social structure, their recruitment patterns, and their attitudes. The book includes contributions from reputable scholars in the field of elite research and specialists on individual political systems across Europe and the US. It provides an analytical framework demonstrating that political elites are inevitable and potentially able to respond successfully to varying challenges.

The book will be of key interest to scholars and students of political elites, democracy, comparative politics, political participation and European Politics.

part II|98 pages

(Changing) elite structure

chapter 6|21 pages

Degradable elites?

Modes and factors of parliamentary turnover in Europe in the early twenty-first century

chapter 7|16 pages

When political elites select political elites

Insights into the accumulation of autonomous political capital

chapter 8|16 pages

Careers of long-standing legislators and the making of the parliamentary elite

Evidence from 25 Baltic parliaments

chapter 10|23 pages

Farewell to the party elites?

Politically inexperienced ministers in Central and Eastern European cabinets

part III|59 pages

(Changing) elite attitudes and behavior

chapter 12|23 pages

Theorists of their own practice

Democracy as seen by Weimar politicians 1

chapter 13|16 pages

Immigration and its consequences for European integration

A multi-level analysis of European national representatives’ perceptions