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The New Power Elite: C. Wright Mills Revisited

Wed, April 19, 2023 @ 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Free – $12.00

THIS EVENT IS POSTPONED – new date to be announced

The Power EliteIn 1956, sociologist C. Wright Mills published The Power Elite, a study that challenged conventional postwar assumptions that the United States was a society of democracy and upward mobility. Mills analyzed how power and social status in the 1950s had become concentrated in an immense corporate-government power complex that overrode the country’s apparently democratic and egalitarian institutions. Mills feared that, if not constrained, concentration and centralization of power at the top of modern society would result in a revival of the violent capitalist authoritarianism or fascism that marked the 1920s and 30s. The Power Elite had a profound influence on the rise of the New Left and contributed to the revival of Marxism in the 1960s (although Mills himself was not a Marxist).

The New Power EliteIn The New Power Elite, Heather Gautney offers us a contemporary companion to Mills’s work through a fresh critique for the new millennium. She takes up the problems that Mills addressed and echoes his outrage over the injustices and ruin brought by today’s elites. She grounds her analysis more in political economy than in institutional authority as Mills did. Gautney also accounts for changes in global capitalism over the last forty years, arguing that neoliberalism and the centering of the market in political and social life has ushered in ever more extreme forms of violence and exploitation and a drift toward authoritarianism.

Heather Gautney, Associate Professor of Sociology at Fordham University, has authored numerous books and articles on social inequality, U.S. politics, labor, and social movements, and opinion essays for major news outlets. She has served as a senior policy advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders.

(This event was originally scheduled for Wednesday, April 19.)