From the Secret to the Public: The Power of Elite Organizations: Symbolic Power and Corporative Diplomacy


Chivalric orders and self-styled orders have been part of silent diplomacy for centuries and show remarkable resilience to change. Chivalric orders are based on historical legitimacy, while self-styled orders are a result of democratic change brought by the American and French Revolution. Their power in society is a research topic of many scientific and quasi-scientific discussions and studies, many of which use the term of secret societies. Using the methods of corporative diplomacy and personal lobbying, these elite organizations have success in implementing their utilitarian and symbolic power in politics, economy and culture, Examples of the Order of Malta and Freemasons (Hinković, Zanella, Kerenski and Briand) shows us how the elite spreads its influence through social networks. The power of these organizations lies in individuals, while its legitimacy rests on sovereignty and bourgeoisie. The permanent affiliation of individuals with the organization often determines their activities in other social and political spheres.

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