In a world of vertiginous inequality, escalating ecological disaster, and extraordinary political and economic turbulence generated by a winner take all society seemingly designed to concentrate privilege and power in the hands of a very few, the central question that faces sociology is whether social protest will change anything or whether elites will continue to lead the planet and its population to disaster. All the important topics of contemporary sociology, including racial justice, environmental change, immigration, economic inequality, and education, to name a few, turn around this issue. The question of the power of elites, and the conditions under which that power might be tamed, happened to lie at the heart of the historical sociology of Richard Lachmann, who died tragically and suddenly this Fall. In his honor, we solicit papers that address the issues of elite and nonelite influences on political and social processes and outcomes. We welcome both theoretical and empirical papers. Submissions could be, for example, reprises of elite theory, critical summaries, critiques, discussions of class versus elite power, developments of alternatives (i.e., nonelite influences, people power), empirical evaluations of the relative power of elites and nonelites, or concrete investigations into the processes that maintain and undermine that power. Possible topics include the origins of capitalism, empires, elites and contemporary capitalism, social movements and elite conflict, and popular culture and influencers.
Abstracts are due to Rebecca Jean Emigh (email@example.com) and Dylan Riley on January 28th, 2022 and should be no longer than 500 words. We are collecting papers with an eye to publishing them as an edited volume for a major university press.