International Sources of Political Conduct


The article deals with the theoretical problem of enquiry into external factors influencing the emergence and behavior of political elite. The author educes structural and subjective characteristics of political elite concept which provides means for scrutinizing the resources, interests, goals and behavior of political elite in dynamic trends. This approach allows logically to connect foreign factors with the concepts of resource availability and international niche occupied by a state controlled by its political elite. Consideration of these factors allows to comprehensively uncover multifaceted motivation and often non-linear causal relationships which determine the behavior of political elite, its tactical and strategic decisions. The effectiveness of governance by a political elite, its sustainability and internal stability depend to a major extent on the stability of state institutions. The resources provided to a political elite depend not merely on the situation within state borders, but also on the character and forms of elite interactions with external political environment. These interactions and relations can to contribute either to an expansion of the resource base or its depletion. The paper proposes an approach towards the study of elites based on the synthesis of elite theory, neoinstitutionalism, and international relations theory. This contributes to the productive development of the field comprising internal and external factors influencing political elite establishment and its political choices. The proposed theoretical framework can be subsequently developed with respect to specific political problems involving political elites as main actors. Implementation of the proposed approach can be done through defining structural and subject features of the political elite and generating relevant variables. Structural features of the political elite can be analyzed through the lens of composition, cohesion and circulation of political elite on the basis of qualitative and quantitative methods. Political elite subject features can be identified by scrutinizing political elite interactions with other actors in internal and external political environment on the basis of the following variables: functioning of political institutions (party system, state apparatus, etc.), and balance of forces and interests of the actors.

Key words: political elite; structure; system; resources; political institution; foreign environment.

Authors: Vadim Smirnov

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