Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Elites in Post-Transition Spain
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 13 hours
Seminars / Tutorials 7 hours


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 4,000 word essay  75%
Semester Assessment Two oral presentations (20 mins.) on topics chosen by the student  25%
Supplementary Assessment Essay on different topic to be resubmitted if failed (=75%) OR, if c/a is failed because of failure of oral component only, a piece of written work (1500 words) to be submitted in lieu of oral work.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate that they understand the development and uses of elite theory and its contribution to understanding society, as well as its advantages and deficiencies when compared with Marxist-based class analysis;
2. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the major shifts and events and the reasons behind them in post-Franco Spain;
3. Demonstrate an understanding of Spain's role within the EU;
4. Demonstrate a good knowledge of political parties in Spain;
5. Demonstrate a sound understanding of economic actors and changes in Spain (structural change, the adoption of the euro, foreign investment);
6. Engage in original research;
7. Engage in the comparative analysis of elites;
8. Think critically about economic and political structures;
9. Express themselves clearly and logically both orally and in writing using the tools of analysis and vocabulary gained during the course.


This is an optional module within the MA in Modern European Culture. It is designed to give students a thorough understanding of the socio-economic and political structure of Spain, through the study of its elites. This will develop the students' knowledge of economic and political processes in Spain since the death of Franco. This module will be consistently comparative, referring to the contemporary European context and the internationalization of Spanish political and economic elites. It will also give the students the opportunity to conduct original empirical research through studying certain characteristics of political and economic elites, e.g. access and recruitment to and circulation of the elite.

Brief description

The course will examine economic and political elites in Spain and the contribution of the same to the changes experienced by Spanish society since the death of Franco. Students will acquire a knowledge not only of the political and economic institutions that shape Spanish society but also of the people behind these organizations. They will gain an understanding of the key linkages between business, politics, and the media, all within the context of the Europeanization and internationalization of post-transition Spain.


1. Elite theory from Pareto to Dye; criticisms of Marx (2 hrs lectures)
2. The aristocracy and the survival of the Francoist elite (2 hrs lectures)
3. Spanish political groups and parties (2 hrs lectures + 1 hr seminar)
4. Spanish economic groups and major multinational companies in the era of privatization and the Euro (2 hrs lectures + 1 hr seminar)
5. Economic elites associated with the PP (Partido Popular) and PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol); the crossover of economic and political elites. Is there a power elite in Spain? (2 hrs seminars)
6. The media: between economics and politics (1 hr lecture, 1 hr seminar)
7. The Central Bank - economic motor or appendage? (1 hr lecture, 1 hr seminar)
8. International influence on and the internationalization of the Spanish elite (2 hrs lectures, 1 hr seminar)
9. Conclusions and theoretical considerations (1 hr lecture)
Total = 13 lectures, 7 seminars (two hours class time per week).

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Participating in seminars and writing of essay will require students to express their ideas clearly, cogently, and coherently.
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent preparation for essay and seminars, independent research for essay and seminars.
Information Technology Students will be required to access bibliographical information, submit a word-processed essay and use the Internet and applications such as Nexis to carry out additional research.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be expected to show an ability to manage their own time effectively and to engage in independent lines of research in preparing for their essay.
Problem solving Selection of reading material, answering questions posed by written assessment, seminar work.
Research skills Researching for essay and seminars.
Subject Specific Skills Students will be required to read material in Spanish in order to prepare for their essay and seminars.
Team work This will possibly apply in the seminars, if students are working in groups.

Reading List

Essential Reading
Baena del Alcázar, Mariano (1999) Tecnos Editorial Elites y conjuntos de poder en España 1939-1992 Primo search Best, H., and M. Cotta (eds.) (2000) Parliamentary Representatives in Europe, 1848¿2000: Legislative Recruitment and Careers in Eleven European Countries Oxford University Press Primo search Carasa Soto, Pedro (1994) Elites: prosopografía contemporánea Universidad de Valladolid, Secretariado de Publicaciones Primo search Dye, Thomas R. (2001) Top-Down Policymaking London: Chatham House Primo search Etzioni-Halevy, Eva (1993) The Elite Connection: Problems and Potential of Western Democracy Cambridge, MA: Polity Press Primo search Etzioni-Halevy, Eva (ed.) (1997) Classes and Elites in Democracy and Democratization: A Collection of Readings London: Garland Primo search Meisel, James H. (ed.) (1965) Pareto and Mosca Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Primo search Michels, Robert (1978) Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith Primo search Mills, C. Wright (1956) The Power Elite London: Oxford University Press Primo search Miralles, Ricardo, and José Luis de la Granja (1992) Las elites en la España contemporánea Universidad del País Vasco Primo search Morán, María Luz (1996) ¿Renewal and permanency of the Spanish Members of Parliament (1977-1993): Reflections on the Institutionalization of the Spanish Parliament¿ Estudio/Working Paper 1996/81, March 1996 (paper presented at the symposium ¿Political Parties: Changing Roles in Contemporary Democracies¿, Juan March Institute, Dec. 15-17, 1994 Primo search Mosca, Gaetano (1939) Elementi di scienza politica (English) / The Ruling Class, ed. Arthur Livingston New York, London: McGraw-Hill Primo search Pareto, Vilfredo (1966) selected and introduced by S.E. Finer; translated by Derick Mirfin Sociological Writings / [of] Vilfredo Pareto London : Pall Mall Press Primo search Román Masedo, Laura (2000) Las elites politico-administrativas en las democracias occidentales Universidade da Coruna Primo search Santos Sainz, María (2003) El poder de la elite periodística Fragua Primo search Banco de España Banco de España Informes Anuales 1998-2006 Primo search Argandoña, Antonio (2001) in Papeles de Ética, Economía y Dirección La financiación de los partidos políticos y la corrupción en las empresas no.6 Primo search Baena del Alcázar, Mariano (2002) in Public Administration On the Nature of Power: An Examination of the Governing Elite and Institutional Power in Spain, 1939-1992 v.80 no.2 Primo search Delgado, Irene (1997) in Perfiles Latinoamericanos Las élites políticas en España: Adecuación representativa en los niveles de gobierno vol. 6, no.11 Primo search Etchemendy, Sebastian, and Leandro Wolfson (2004) in Desarrollo Económico ¿España: Un modelo estatista de liberalización económica¿ v.44, no.175 (Oct. - Dec. 2004) Primo search Flores Andrade, Anselmo (2000) in Estudios Sociológicos ¿Los empresarios y la transición a la democracia en España¿ v.18, no.54 Primo search Papatheodorou, Fotini, and David Machin (2003) in European Journal of Communication �The Umbilical Cord That Was Never Cut: The Post-Dictorial Intimacy between the Political Elite and the Mass Media in Greece and Spain� Vol. 18, No. 1, 31-54 Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7