An elite conflict model is compared to past work on elites and to a variety of Marxist
explanations for the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Elites are defined
by their control over organizational apparatuses for appropriating resources from
non-elites. An elite in pursuit of its interests is constrained primarily by coexisting
elites and secondarily by inter-class relations of production. The effects of elite
and class conflict upon elite organizations and relations of production are traced.
Conflict among feudal elites is identified as the primary determinant of the form
and extent of social structural change in three historical cases: Florence during
the Renaissance, England in the century leading up to the 1640 Revolution, and France
from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries.