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Oligarchy

  • Date Published: April 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521182980

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  • For centuries, oligarchs were viewed as empowered by wealth, an idea muddled by elite theory early in the twentieth century. The common thread for oligarchs across history is that wealth defines them, empowers them and inherently exposes them to threats. The existential motive of all oligarchs is wealth defense. How they respond varies with the threats they confront, including how directly involved they are in supplying the coercion underlying all property claims and whether they act separately or collectively. These variations yield four types of oligarchy: warring, ruling, sultanistic and civil. Moreover, the rule of law problem in many societies is a matter of taming oligarchs. Cases studied in this book include the United States, ancient Athens and Rome, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, medieval Venice and Siena, mafia commissions in the United States and Italy, feuding Appalachian families and early chiefs cum oligarchs dating from 2300 BCE.

    • This is the only book available in the English language entirely devoted to the important subject of oligarchs and oligarchy
    • The theory it advances is equally applicable to oligarchs in ancient and contemporary times, but in a way that accounts for how and why oligarchies vary
    • The book is pathbreaking in its analysis of the US case as oligarchic (and yet democratic) and it also offers fresh interpretations of Indonesia, ancient Athens and Rome, Singapore and the Philippines
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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521182980
    • length: 344 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 155 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus. 12 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I: Preface
    Part II. The Material Foundations of Oligarchy:
    1. Toward a theory of oligarchy
    2. Power resources
    3. Wealth defense
    4. Oligarchy and the elite detour
    5. Types of oligarchies
    Conclusions
    Part III. Warring Oligarchies:
    6. Chiefs, warlords, and warring oligarchs
    7. Warring oligarchs in medieval Europe
    8. Appalachian feuds
    Conclusions
    Part IV. Ruling Oligarchies:
    9. Mafia commissions
    10. Greco-Roman oligarchies
    11. Athens
    12. Rome
    13. Italian city-states of Venice and Siena
    Part V. Sultanistic Oligarchies:
    13. Indonesia
    14. Untamed ruling oligarchy in Indonesia
    15. The Philippines
    Conclusions
    Part VI. Civil Oligarchies:
    16. The United States
    17. Singapore
    Conclusions
    Part VII. Conclusions:
    18. Other cases and comparisons
    19. Oligarchy and other debates.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy: Introduction to Political Economy
    • Democratization
    • English Composition ll
    • Global Conflict: Clash of Civilizations or Conflicting Theory of the State
    • Juntas in History
    • Politics of Authoritarian Regimes
    • Power, Resistance & Domination
    • Seminar on Politics
    • The Rule of Law
  • Author

    Jeffrey A. Winters, Northwestern University, Illinois
    Jeffrey A. Winters specializes in oligarchy and elites in a range of historical and contemporary cases, including Athens, Rome, medieval Europe, the United States and several major countries in Southeast Asia. His research, publications and teaching focus on the areas of comparative and international political economy. Themes in his work in addition to oligarchy include state-capital relations, capital mobility and the structural power of investors, human rights, authoritarianism and democratic transitions in postcolonial states, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the World Bank. He has conducted extensive research in the region of Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. He is the author of Power in Motion: Capital Mobility and the Indonesian State. With Jonathan Pincus, he co-edited Reinventing the World Bank. He has also published two other books in Indonesian. Professor Winters has received numerous grants and scholarships, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grant; a J. William Fulbright Senior Specialist Grant; grants from the National Science Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Sawyer–Mellon Foundation, the Henry R. Luce Foundation, Yale's Center for International Studies and the J. M. Kaplan Fund; and a Rackham Research Grant from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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