How Top Players Sway Policy and Governing in the Twenty-First Century
MEET THE NEW INFLUENCE ELITES: A new breed of influence elite has emerged in recent years. Today’s novel elites are more mobile, diversified, and global in reach than their forebears, while often less visible. They set up or empower consulting firms, think tanks, nonprofits, and “grassroots organizations,” among other entities, that can serve as vehicles of influence. The space the elites inhabit lies beyond formal authority, their influence is based in part on their position in social networks that operate in and among organizations and venues, and the elites’ ability to bridge and reconfigure them. These influence elites largely defy democratic oversight. Conventional concepts inadequately capture their modus operandi and roles in contemporary democratic states and a new lexicon is needed.
Professor Janine R. Wedel, writes about the privatization of public and foreign policy, corruption and the state, and development and foreign aid through the unique lens of a social anthropologist. She is the first anthropologist to win the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order (previous award recipients include Mikhail Gorbachev and Samuel Huntington). As University Professor in the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs at George Mason University and fellow at the New America Foundation, she has contributed articles and opinion pieces to more than a dozen major outlets.Professor Wedel has been a pioneer in applying anthropological insights to topics that are typically the terrain of political scientists, economists, or sociologists.
Comment by Prof. Dr. Hagen Schulz-Forberg, Associate Professor for Global and European History at the Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University.