Thomas L. Pahl

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Oligarchy; Political party organization; Michels, Robert, 1876-1936


ABSTRACT - In an attempt to evaluate Michels' assertions about an "iron law of oligarchy,'' the top two levels of leadership in a state political party have been compared. An attempt to flnd significant differences which would support Michels' elitist theories has been made by comparing demographic factors, work approval and disapproval, political factors, and career aspirations of nucleons and cadres. No great support for the theories has been found, and some contrary evidence has been unearthed. In a further attempt to test Michels' theory, the leadership is divided along career aspirations into careerists and terminals; the support for an iron law of oligarchy is even weaker in this comparison.

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