Elites, the State and Development
Elites are made up of a relatively small number of people who control the key material, symbolic and political resources in a given country. They are people who occupy commanding positions within the set of institutions that are most salient to influencing the policy and implementation processes at national and local levels. How elites structure and use state power is crucial to the success or otherwise of national growth strategies and poverty reduction.
This theme encompasses research into a variety of elite groups in least developed countries and the implications on economic development and poverty reduction of their behavior, their interactions with the state and other groups in society, and the ways in which they reproduced their elite status. It encompasses the political, economic, administrative and social elite within developing countries as well as international or transnational elites in official aid agencies, multinational corporations, and international NGOs.
Current programmes and projects ask the following questions:
How and why do elites support, oppose, or ignore the implementation of specific poverty reduction initiatives in the productive sectors?
How do state elites claim legitimacy in international circles through their engagement with foreign direct investment and through the impact of their relations with transnational capitalist elites on national political structures?
Why do multinational corporations operating in conflict-affected countries vary in their responses to pressure from non-governmental organizations?
How have elite configurations been influenced by economic reforms?
Contributing DIIS researchers:France Bourgouin; Lars Buur; Lindsay Whitfield; Luke Patey; Neil Webster; Ole Therkildsen; Tina Maria Jensen.
Contributing programmes and projects:Elites and the New Poverty Agenda; The Politics of Transnational Capitalism in Tanzania; Multinational Corporations and Armed Conflict in Sudan; Poverty Alleviation as a Platform for Elite Configuration?; Research collaboration network between DIIS and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris.