Robert Michels

1876 - 1936

Photo of Robert Michels

Icon of person Robert Michels

Robert Michels (German: [ˈmɪçəls]; 9 January 1876 – 3 May 1936) was a German-born Italian sociologist who contributed to elite theory by describing the political behavior of intellectual elites. He belonged to the Italian school of elitism. He is best known for his book Political Parties, published in 1911, which contains a description of the "iron law of oligarchy." He was a friend and disciple of Max Weber, Werner Sombart and Achille Loria. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of Robert Michels has received more than 240,019 page views. His biography is available in 28 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 27 in 2019). Robert Michels is the 24th most popular sociologist (down from 20th in 2019), the 951st most popular biography from Germany (down from 870th in 2019) and the 5th most popular Sociologist.

Robert Michels is most famous for his theory of the iron law of oligarchy. Michels argued that all organizations, regardless of their stated goals, will eventually be dominated by a small group of people who will use their power to promote their own interests.

Memorability Metrics

  • 240k

    Page Views (PV)

  • 61.22

    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 28

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 7.81

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 2.07

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)

Page views of Robert Michels by language


Among sociologists, Robert Michels ranks 24 out of 54Before him are Pitirim Sorokin, Peter L. Berger, C. Wright Mills, Alain Touraine, Daniel Bell, and Paul Lazarsfeld. After him are Stuart Hall, Ziya Gökalp, Robert E. Park, W. I. Thomas, Thomas Luckmann, and Harold Garfinkel.

Most Popular Sociologists in Wikipedia

Go to all Rankings


Among people born in 1876, Robert Michels ranks 38Before him are Max Jacob, Robert Guérin, Jean Webster, Bruno Walter, Wied, Prince of Albania, and Henri de Baillet-Latour. After him are Natalie Clifford Barney, Rodolphe Seeldrayers, Ivan Cankar, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Duke Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and Ziya Gökalp. Among people deceased in 1936, Robert Michels ranks 43Before him are Karl Pearson, Antoine Meillet, Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen, Henry Louis Le Chatelier, Georgy Chicherin, and Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby. After him are Ahmet Tevfik Pasha, Heinrich Rickert, Wilhelm Gustloff, José Sanjurjo, Infante Alfonso Carlos, Duke of San Jaime, and Bertha Pappenheim.

Others Born in 1876

Go to all Rankings

Others Deceased in 1936

Go to all Rankings

In Germany

Among people born in Germany, Robert Michels ranks 951 out of 6,142Before him are Hans Scholl (1918), Karl Rahner (1904), Henry I, Duke of Bavaria (920), Emil Maurice (1897), Klaus Hasselmann (1931), and Johannes Althusius (1563). After him are Herbert Gille (1897), Sophie of Württemberg (1818), Karl Abraham (1877), Erich Auerbach (1892), Max Wolf (1863), and Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1886).


Among sociologists born in Germany, Robert Michels ranks 5Before him are Max Weber (1864), Theodor W. Adorno (1903), Georg Simmel (1858), and Niklas Luhmann (1927). After him are Amitai Etzioni (1929), Juan José Linz (1926), Andre Gunder Frank (1929), and Claus Offe (1940).