Essay on Wealth and Power of The Upper Class: An Organized Elite

Essay on Wealth and Power of The Upper Class: An Organized Elite

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G. William Domhoff is by trade a psychologist and sociologist and is the author of several books on the theory of power and class structure. In his book, Who rules America Now? Domhoff provides an in depth analysis of the structure of wealth and power in America. He asserts the existence of an institutional upper class in America that is able to dictate/direct the politics, economy and government by virtue of its wealth and power. I contend that Domhoff through his analysis of the wealth and power structure of the American upper class can be considered as a lay cultural theorist. This is based upon his identification of the cultural processes of the upper class - those learned shared patterns of behaviors and interactions that allow them to “sustain and optimize opportunities and forms of sociality” (Stryker 2011), for survival. In this paper, I will argue the existence of an institutional upper class in America identified by its infrastructure, wealth and power. (Domhoff 2005) This class is a minority in terms of population, in particular the 5% of this social class who possess the majority of wealth in this nation. They have “the ability to set the terms under which other groups and classes must operate” (Domhoff 2005).
To demonstrate the existence of an institutional American upper class it must first be defined. Most people think of social class as distinctions between income, occupations, and education. They view the upper class as those who have more wealth and influence in society, but certainly not power or control. Domhoff defines social class as a group of “intermarrying and interacting families who see each other as equals, share a common style of life, and have a common viewpoint on the world” (Domhoff 2005), not as...


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...grassroots campaign and is an excellent orator, etc. is superficial. Understanding the power structure in America as I do from Domhoff viewpoint, an upper class that exerts their influence on the political - economic landscape of this country for their own self-interest and perpetuation, the resounding questions I have are, what role did they play in securing Obama’s presidency and how will it benefit their infrastructure now or in the future?



Works Cited
Domhoff, G. William. Who Rules America Now? Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc, 2005.
Domhoff, G. William. Who rules America: Power in America. 2011. http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/ (accessed September 12, 2011).
Stryker, Rachael. September 2, 2011."Culture: Definitions and Examples. Page 1. Anthropological Theory. Department of Anthropology and Sociology. Oakland, CA: Mills College.

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