Essay on Class Power Theory By C. Wright Mills

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“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants” – Issac Newton

Newton’s quote strikes at the heart of all academic learning – which is that knowledge is built on the success of those who come before us. Throughout this course we’ve surveyed the literature in comparative politics to gain a greater understanding of the world and how the giants that came before us laid the foundation for the field of study. So in relation to understanding the factors that determine whose preferences are represented in Democracy, we turn to these authors to highlight the critical – and often dissenting – opinions on interest representation. To be clear, I will argue particularly that Elite power theory as first posited by C. Wright Mills lays the fundamental foundation for whose interests are represented, but will also analyze the other opposing theoretical viewpoints. Thus, we will examine fundamentally two questions or factors, first by answering “Who is in charge?” and second by answering “How and why do Interests gain the capacity to be represented?”

The first question of who is in charge is fundamental in understanding the distribution of power within American Democracy. Mills proposed what we refer to as elite power theory, specifically defining the elite those “who have the most of what there is to have”. Power, influence, and affluence are all resources that these power elite have. Moreover, these individuals often move and interact only within the same social…

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