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The ascent of oligarchy: the case of Israel

Gottfried, Shelly (2015). The ascent of oligarchy: the case of Israel. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


The aim of this thesis is to explore the development of an oligarchy in the Israeli political economy. In that, it both sheds light on the state-business relationship in the Israeli political economy, and refines the understanding of oligarchy in general. In order to achieve this two-folded objective, I rec-conceptualise oligarchy, identify its sources, characterise its structure, and analyse the main mechanisms through which it establishes its power in a national political economy, specifically - in Israel.

The literature so far scarcely addresses the ways in which such cluster of wealth and power emerges and develops in liberal and developed market economies. This thesis aims to fill this gap, by examining the origins of the oligarchy rise, the key actors involved in the process of 'oligarchisation', and the modalities through which oligarchs are distinguished from other wealthy actors. In particular, this work illuminates the critical role of the state in the formation and modus operandiof the oligarchy, which, in return, has substantial influence on the decision-making process and the political economy as a whole. The term 'oligarchy' in this thesis refers to a set of institutional, political, and social linkages and dynamics, whose interests are to some extent converged and are increasingly counterpoised to the interests of the 'traditional' economy. My analysis develops on the basis of a critical engagement with theories examining concentration of wealth and power in national political economies, together with data collected from various governemental and non-governmental sources and fieldwork, examining the facets of this concentration in Israel. My study reveals that the corpus of ideas and assessments of oligarchy points to a cohesive power structure, which, in the Israeli case, can be identified as an informal political institution.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Policy & Global Affairs > School of Policy & Global Affairs Doctoral Theses
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