Home > Free Essays > Literature > American Literature > The Book “The Power Elite” by Charles Wright Mills

The Book “The Power Elite” by Charles Wright Mills Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Mar 2nd, 2022

To begin with, let us tackle the author of the book under consideration. Charles Wright Mills was an endowed, outstanding sociologist, a prominent and incomparable specialist in his field who generated controversially, but unique ideas. Wright Millis is famous for such works of his as “The New Men of Power: America’s Labor Leaders” (1948), “White Collar: The American Middle Classes” (1951), and, certainly, “The Power Elite” (1956).

The most interesting and striking thing about the book “The Power Elite” is that though Wright Mills wrote it more than a half-century ago to depict American society from the point of view of that time, the main ideas of the book may be applied to contemporary society as well.

The main thesis brought forward by Wright Mills in “The Higher Circles” may be easily derived from the title of the chapter. It states that there exists a group of people in America that form the higher circle and they possess enough power to affect the everyday worlds of ordinary men and women (Mills 3).

In the first place, the importance of these people is proved by Mills in the following way: he says that they occupy the position that enables them to make decisions that will lead to major consequences, and no matter if they make a decision or not, both action and absence of action will cause important consequences. He defines those people as opposites to common people: “They are all that we are not” (Mills 3). Thus the invisible barrier between people and the elite becomes evident.

In the second place, Mills defines those people who form the elite: advisers, consultants, spokesmen, and opinion-makers. He also stresses the importance of professional politicians who belong to the middle level of power and of those celebrities who are not on the top of the hierarchy, who perform the function of the entertainers of the public and create the impression that they inform people about the drama that takes place in the higher circles.

In the third place, Mills criticizes the men of the elite, for their uncertainty as for their roles and functions in the system, for their underestimation of the power given to them. The rhetoric of public relations that has become the lifestyle of the elite is also stressed by the author as one of the arguments of those who do not believe in the elite.

In the fourth place, the author defines three major institutions of power in society and they are the following: state, corporation, and army representing economic, political, and military sectors. In comparison with them, such institutions as the family, the church, and educational establishments have far less power, because they simply adjust to life and follow the requirements of the elite that rule and direct our life. Still, “the big three” and institutions of family, church, and school are interrelated and interconnected, and in case, if the subordinate institutions failed to come up with the requirements of the elite, “the big three” would have to take strong measures or there would be a series of serious catastrophes like a military or economic crisis.

Finally, Wright Mills states that formerly each branch of the elite used to be a decentralized weak organization, but over time they have developed, become centralized, and obtained their present power. Today the members of “the big three” are interlocked and act together and the leading men of these domains form the American power elite.

To conclude, it must be said that judging by the chapter under consideration, this book is worth reading. It makes people from every new generation analyze the society they live in and think about the society they would like to live in.

Works Cited

Mills, Wright C. and Alan Wolfe. The Power Elite. USA: Oxford University Press, 2000.

This essay on The Book “The Power Elite” by Charles Wright Mills was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, March 2). The Book “The Power Elite” by Charles Wright Mills. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-book-the-power-elite-by-charles-wright-mills/

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, March 2). The Book “The Power Elite” by Charles Wright Mills. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-book-the-power-elite-by-charles-wright-mills/

Work Cited

"The Book “The Power Elite” by Charles Wright Mills." IvyPanda, 2 Mar. 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/the-book-the-power-elite-by-charles-wright-mills/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Book “The Power Elite” by Charles Wright Mills." March 2, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-book-the-power-elite-by-charles-wright-mills/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "The Book “The Power Elite” by Charles Wright Mills." March 2, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-book-the-power-elite-by-charles-wright-mills/.

References

IvyPanda. 2022. "The Book “The Power Elite” by Charles Wright Mills." March 2, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-book-the-power-elite-by-charles-wright-mills/.

References

IvyPanda. (2022) 'The Book “The Power Elite” by Charles Wright Mills'. 2 March.

Powered by CiteTotal, online essay citation generator
More related papers