Reckless opportunists

Elites at the end of the Establishment

By Aeron Davis

Reckless opportunists


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2728-0
  • Pages: 144
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £9.99
  • Published Date: March 2018
  • BIC Category: Sociology, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Comparative Politics, Political, Socio-Economic & Strategic Groupings, Society & social sciences / Sociology, Economics, finance, business & management / General, Society & social sciences / Politics & government
  • Series: Manchester Capitalism


The summer of 2016 witnessed a crisis in Britain's political, economic and media elite. Once-successful leaders were dropping everywhere. These multiple losses at the top were no coincidence. The fact is, we have produced a generation of leaders who, regardless of intent, are short-term, precarious, ignorant, un-rooted and self-serving. This isn't a matter of a few deficient personalities - it's a structural problem that has developed over decades.

The central theme of this book is that the British elite has lost control. Its members can earn more than ever before and their decisions have powerful consequences that are widely felt. They are highly skilled when it comes to pursuing their own self-interests. But they are also rather less able to exert control or predict the consequences of their actions. What is best for them can often be bad for their organisation, their employees and the public. And their failures are having an increasingly devastating effect on society.


Aeron Davis is Professor of Political Communication and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Centre (PERC) at Goldsmiths, University of London


Part I: Barbarians inside the gate
1 The end of the Establishment?
2 Elites against the institution
Part II: Getting to the top
3 Selling leaders
4 Rise of the greasy poll experts
Part III: Staying at the top
5 Different worlds, different cultures
6 Secrets and lies
7 The numbers game
Part IV: Exit strategies
8 The safety of the herd
9 Liquid leaders and networks

Sign up to our newsletter
and receive 20% off all future book orders