Shadow Elite

Interesting and scary book by Janine R. Wedel. The full title is: Shadow Elite: How the World’s New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market. She looks at the revolving door through which a small number of powerful individuals move between jobs in government, as lobbyists and industry and back to government positions, blurring the lines between government and industries, public and private interest. Looking at some of her graphics, you can see that she conceptualizes the situation as a two-mode-network (though I’m not sure she uses the term…). A two mode network is a network where you have two kinds of nodes, one are actors and the other are something connected to the actors. Often it would be actors connected to events. In a two-mode-network you cannot have links within one mode, so actor to actor links or event to event links are not possible. The graphics in Shadow Elite connect the power brokers to the organizations they worked for and show quite stunningly how they move from one world to the next. While I am normally not a great fan of two-mode-networks, because they are far less intuitive than one-mode (or actor-to-actor) networks, I think in this case they work really well.

Listen to her introduction of Shadow Elites at the Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany:

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