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Integration of the Swedish Local Elite: The Role of Professional and Friendship Networks
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
Lunds universitet, Sociologiska institutionen.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

In the present paper we study local elite integration from a social network analytic perspective in Sweden, at the municipal level of political administration. The elites’ overall integration, the significance of informal personal relations for elite integration, and the role of political stability for elite integration are among the study’s main research questions. Empirically the study draws upon original data collected from positional samples of local elites (politicians, civil servants, business representatives, etc.) in four mid-sized Swedish municipalities. Overall the results indicate that local elites in Sweden are well integrated into one fairly unified social entity, structurally ordered around tightly connected social cores of high-ranking politicians and civil servants. We discuss the results and their significance in relation to elite integration’s importance as far as the functioning of democratic institutions is concerned, and also with reference to the common understanding of Sweden having a dual elite structure.

National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-76302OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-76302DiVA: diva2:526155
Available from: 2012-05-10 Created: 2012-05-10 Last updated: 2012-05-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Essays on Elite Networks in Sweden: Power, social integration, and informal contacts among political elites
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Essays on Elite Networks in Sweden: Power, social integration, and informal contacts among political elites
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this dissertation is to present work on a number of salient characteristics of elite relations in Sweden, studied from a social network analytic perspective. Elite integration, the distribution of elite power, and the significance of elites’ informal relations represent the three main themes explored in the original studies that comprise the thesis. Studies 1-3 concern elite relations at the local, i.e. municipal level of political decision-making, while research on parliamentary political elites is reported in Study 4. Studies 1-3 draw upon original complete network data collected through personal interviews with 248 local elites (politicians, corporate leaders, civil servants, etc.) active in four mid-sized Swedish municipalities. The question of local elite integration is investigated in Study 1, while the question of women elites’ potential access to structural power is studied in Study 2. These studies conclude that local elites are well integrated around structural cores of politicians and civil servants, and that women elites are on average not structurally disadvantaged due to their sex. Research concerning the role local elites’ involvement in associations like Rotary clubs is reported in Study 3. The results suggest that membership in such semi-exclusive voluntary settings may have an optimizing impact upon the elites’ personal networks, as far as their individual level social capital is concerned. In the final study (Study 4) focus is shifted to national political elites when a social network analytic perspective is utilized to study social cohesion within multiparty opposition coalitions recently formed in the Swedish Riksdag. The study concludes that the right wing-liberal Alliance coalition formed prior to the 2006 general elections was socially better integrated and more cohesive than the socialist-environmentalist coalition formed during the subsequent parliamentary cycle.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2012. 59 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; N.S., 52
Keyword
Sweden, elites, social networks, social capital
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75877 (URN)978-91-86071-91-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-06-01, hörsal 3, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10 B, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted. Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 4: Submitted.

Available from: 2012-05-10 Created: 2012-05-02 Last updated: 2015-06-16Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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