Encyclopedia > Elite (sociology)

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Elite (sociology)

In sociology, an elite comprises a relatively small group within a larger one. The elite (the word comes from the French and suggests the chosen or the elect) may mark itself out on grounds of class, access to power, education, money, prestigious genes, race, culture, etc. Elites may press "rights" to influence or even aspire to leadership.

Aristocracy forms one traditional form of an elite, oligarchy another.

For applied concepts of the elite, see elitism.

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