Swedish Iron Law of Oligarchy : Swedish social networks and strategical positions in Russia, the transitional period of 1991-1994

University essay from Södertörns högskola/Sociologi

Abstract: This study examines the configurations of power positions in the perspective of social networks in the context of Sweden and Swedish actors around the initiation of privatization in Russia 1991-1994. The study aims to increase the knowledge on the subject of power and social networks through the use of a combination of theoretical concept, taking off in Janine Wedel’s flex net. Using the concept of power positions, derived from C. Wright Mills’s command post and Janine Wedel’s flexian-type actor, the study asks questions concerning the occupants of these power positions, the configuration of these power positions as well as the formation, reproduction and implications thereof. The study uses a qualitative mixed method approach inspired by Nick Crossley to gather data by primary, secondary and archival research means, while storing and structuring the data in a social network analysis manner which allows for a more easily grasped visualisation and overview of the relational ties among the actors. The data consists of published sources in the form of books authored by actors, news articles, interviews previously done by journalists, records etc. The study finds indications of possible flex net-like social networks where actors across the Swedish political, business and military intelligence domains collaborate to achieve both ideological and material goals. There is especially a gravitation towards a background in or a close connection to the Swedish Military Intelligence, in particular its collaboration with Swedish business representatives. The study does however not argue corruption or nepotism in the traditional sense, but rather suggest that the reproduction of power positions may be the result of a rationale along the lines of Robert Michels’s concept of the iron law of oligarchy - a power law function - in other words, previous power positions qualify actors for future power positions. The study acknowledges its methodological limitations, and also emphasises that the actors and the social network examined here is unlikely to be unique in any sense of the word, however it is also worth noting that this study is part of a larger study project which includes other methodological approaches, such as interviews.

  AT THIS PAGE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE ESSAY. (follow the link to the next page)