The elitism is one of the many ideological systems that have existed in the history of mankind. This conception is based on the idea that ordinary people, those belonging to the common people, are not only less intelligent, but also are considered as people of little confidence and even as potential criminals. In view of this , elitism defends that the only valid opinions are those that come from the elites. Next we are going to expand this concept, while we will make an analysis of its characteristics and we will see how it is applied to different areas of society. Can you come with us?

What is elitism?

The elitism is characterized by an ideological current grant a superior moral and intellectual those people in the upper strata of society, ie the elites. This current rejects the opinions, valid or not, of people belonging to the popular classes and only accepts those of people with a privileged social position.

  • Meaning
  • Synonyms
  • Characteristics
  • Story
  • Political elitism
  • Cultural
  • Musical
  • Elitism in education
  • Elitism and the genetic algorithm
  • Examples


Elitism is a term that has different meanings , these are:

  • Social system that dismisses the opinion of the people to give privileges to the elites.
  • Consideration of the elite as morally superior people .
  • It denotes the situation in which people belonging to a higher social group have power and privileges that are not attainable by lower social groups .
  • Finally, it can also be an attitude of rejection towards the opinions of the people.


Synonyms of elitism are:  exclusivism, snobbery.


Some characteristics of elitism are:

  • It is typical of the upper classes.
  • They can have moral, intellectual or economic superiority.
  • Grant unique privileges to the elite.
  • Political power is exclusive to the upper social classes .
  • Only the opinions of the elite are valid.
  • He dismisses the feelings and ideas of the lower classes.
  • Elitism favors meritocracy , plutocracy, and even technocracy .


The origin of elitism can be established in the late nineteenth century in what is known as the Italian school of elitism. Vilfredo Pareto, Robert Michels and Gaetano Mosca were its greatest exponents and they argued that the economic and political institutions of a country were the ones that actually held power. They also indicated that the lower classes had no interest in who governed the country, since they had nothing to lose, whereas the elites , who were superior both economically and intellectually, had many interests in the proper functioning of the government.

This theory was, little by little, derived from the hand of authors such as Wright Mills or James Burnham and came to have a great influence in the Western world.

Political elitism

When we speak of political elitism, we mean that the political management of a region or country falls exclusively on the elite of that place, generally a small group of people who, unlike ordinary citizens, have great economic power and a higher cultural level.

Within political elitism we must differentiate the following:

Elitist democracy

It is one in which the opinion of the people is not taken into account and it is the elites who really elect their representatives. Sometimes it can happen that the people have the false feeling that they are the ones who elect their leaders even though this is not really the case.

Elitist politics

Elitist politics is one that seeks the benefit of the elites to the detriment of the rest of social classes.

Pure elitism

It is one in which citizen participation is restricted to the upper social classes. They control both politics and the media.

Institutional elitism

Thanks to institutionalized processes, elites control politics and with it also information.


When we speak of cultural elitism, we refer to the culture of the elites . They are the traditions and expressions that represent this social group and are related to their lifestyle, thus disregarding those that are typical of the popular classes.


Many times, there are musical genres that are degraded by those people belonging to superior social groups because they are considered inferior. Many times this has been the case for racial reasons, but other times it has simply been motivated by being genders belonging to the marginal classes or the people. Thus arises musical elitism, which considers that there are certain genres such as jazz or rap that should not be listened to by the elites , contrary to what happens with classical music or opera.

Elitism in education

It is education that is only accessible by the upper classes. This is generally motivated by the cost to access it, since by increasing prices it is achieved that the lower classes and therefore less wealthy, cannot access education.

Elitism and the genetic algorithm

A genetic algorithm can be described as an algorithm that is based on evolutionary processes . The purpose of this type of algorithm is none other than to improve convergence and for this elitism is one of the most widely used methods. With this method, what is sought is that the individuals belonging to the elite of the population, that is, the best members of it, produce descendants while the worst are prevented from doing the same.


Some examples of elitism are:

  • Democracy in the United States has a marked elitist character, since in reality it is the elites who determine the aspirants to govern the country.
  • Without leaving the United States, we can see how the universities are elitist by having prohibitive prices for a large part of the population.
  • Art has an elitist aspect, since elites often attend select events or exhibitions that can only be attended by invitation and that do not allow the entry of ordinary people.
  • In the world of fashion there are brands with a clear orientation to the elites.

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