Robert Michels

1876 - 1936

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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 200,042 page views. His biography is available in 27 different languages on Wikipedia. Robert Michels is the 20th most popular sociologist (up from 22nd in 2019), the 870th most popular biography from Germany (down from 768th in 2019) and the 5th most popular German 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.

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Among sociologists, Robert Michels ranks 20 out of 54Before him are Niklas Luhmann, Gabriel Tarde, Ulrich Beck, Pitirim Sorokin, C. Wright Mills, and Peter L. Berger. After him are Daniel Bell, Manuel Castells, Alain Touraine, Paul Lazarsfeld, Robert E. Park, and Stuart Hall.

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Among people born in 1876, Robert Michels ranks 35Before him are Robert Guérin, Wied, Prince of Albania, Bruno Walter, Wilhelm Cuno, Jean Webster, and John Macleod. After him are A. L. Kroeber, Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Sherwood Anderson, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Henri de Baillet-Latour, and Ivan Cankar. Among people deceased in 1936, Robert Michels ranks 40Before him are Charles Nicolle, Georg Michaelis, Julius Schreck, Bertha Pappenheim, Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen, and Heinrich Rickert. After him are Antoine Meillet, Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Georgy Chicherin, Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby, José Sanjurjo, and Duan Qirui.

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In Germany

Among people born in Germany, Robert Michels ranks 870 out of 5,289Before him are Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1729), Albert of Brandenburg (1490), Wilhelm Kempff (1895), Bernard Katz (1911), Manfred Eigen (1927), and Kurt Gerstein (1905). After him are Christina of Holstein-Gottorp (1573), Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen (1792), Sophia Dorothea of Celle (1666), Marie d'Agoult (1805), Nicolaus Zinzendorf (1700), and Gershom Scholem (1897).


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), Andre Gunder Frank (1929), and Juan José Linz (1926).