American Bureaucracy in an Age of Oligarchy

Sara R. Jordan, Phillip Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recent scholarship on the emergence of oligarchic trends in American politics focuses on the effect of the concentration of wealth on distributions of power in electoral politics. In this literature, the authors make claims that oligarchic organization of power will have multiple and far-reaching consequences for the organization of political institutions. In this article, we examine some hypothetical consequences for American federal bureaucracy, specifically bureaucratic control, under conditions of civil oligarchy. We focus on the challenges to the arrangement of bureaucratic control institutions that oligarchic concentrations of wealth might present. We demonstrate these challenges argumentatively and graphically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Politics, Culture and Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 May 2018



  • Bureaucracy
  • Capture
  • Oligarchy
  • Political control
  • Political theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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