That group that is the most influential and prestigious stratum in a society. The ruling elite has nearly exclusive political, economic, and military control of the society in which they live. See C. Wright Mills' The Power Elite. (The controversy concerning "ruling elite" and "ruling class" should be mentioned here. Many radical non-Marxists, following C. Wright Mills, have conceptualized those who govern American society as an "elite," while Marxists have stuck to a more class-oriented analysis employing the concept "ruling class." G. William Domhoff has suggested a "compromise," a "ruling class" that operates "technically" through a "ruling elite." - G. William Domhoff, Who Rules America (Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1967) and The Higher Circles (New York: Vintage Books, 1971).












   

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