Bachrach, Peter. The Theory of Democratic Elitism. Boston: Little, Brown, 1967. A social scientist analyzes the phenomenon of elitism in democratic societies.
Field, G. Lowell. Elitism. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980. The best general study of elitism as a social, artistic, and intellectual phenomenon. An excellent starting place in the study of elitism.
Fiske, John. Power Plays, Power Works. New York: Verso, 1993. Discusses the relationship between elitism and popular culture in twentieth century American society.
Henry, William A. In Defense of Elitism. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1994. Argues that elitism should not be defined as the possession of undeserved privileges and respect but as the appropriate reward received for hard work and intellectual superiority. Highly controversial but informative.
Kadushin, Charles. The American Intellectual Elite. Boston: Little, Brown, 1974. Argues that the intelligentsia in America fills the same role as the aristocracy in Europe when it establishes tastes and values for all social classes.
Lasch, Christopher. The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy. New York: Norton, 1995. The author examines the new social elites in American society and suggests that they are having a destructive effect upon a shared system of values.
Miles, Peter, and Malcolm Smith. Cinema, Literature and Society. New York: Croom Helm, 1987. Although focusing primarily on Britain in the period between World Wars I and II, this work provides a fascinating discussion of the relationship between high culture, as defined by the elite, and mass culture in literature and film.
Sontag, Susan. Under the Sign of Saturn. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1980. In such essays as “Fascinating Fascism,” Sontag suggests that the tastes and values acceptable in an elite would be destructive if accepted by the mass culture.
Sowell, Thomas. The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy. New York: BasicBooks, 1995. A conservative analysis of the “new elites” (intellectuals, the media, politicians) and their influence in American society.
Taylor, Roger. Beyond Art: What Art Is and Might Become If Freed from Cultural Elitism. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1981. A philosophical study of the destructive impact of elitism upon the arts.