From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Elitism is the belief or attitude that those individuals who are considered members of the elite — a select group of people with outstanding personal abilities, intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight; whose views and/or actions are mostly likely to be constructive to society as a whole; or whose extraordinary skills, abilities or wisdom render them especially fit to govern. Alternatively, the term elitism may be used to describe a situation in which power is concentrated in the hands of the elite.
Elitism is sometimes misused pejoratively to describe a mindset of arrogance or disregard for the general (i.e., less educated, less experienced, or less discerning) public. (Meritocracy, a special kind of elitism, has not taken on this connotation).
For the converse of "elitism" see "anti-elitism," "populism," and the political theory of pluralism. Elite theory is the sociological or political science analysis of elite influence in society - elite theorists regard pluralism as a utopian ideal.
Elitism may also refer to situations in which an elite individual assumes special privileges and responsibilities in the hope that this arrangement will benefit humanity.
The term elitism is also sometimes misused to denote situations in which a group of people claiming to possess high abilities or simply an in-group or cadre grant themselves extra privileges at the expense of others. This debased form of elitism may be described as discrimination.
- High culture
- Ivy League
- Limousine liberal
- Model minority
- Noble lie
- Popular culture
- Social Class
- Social Darwinism
- Social Evolution
- Tall poppy syndrome
- Thomas R. Dye