chapter  3
36 Pages

Social Personality

We have already seen that Pareto’s class I and class II residues refer to broad

psychological themes. Confusingly, however, they are not psychological constructs

themselves. This has important consequences for how we read Pareto. Glancing

through his many commentaries on the distributions of class I and class II residues

throughout political elites, we might easily suppose Pareto was indulging a

psychologically reductionist view of elite behaviour. Only further reflection upon

the nature of the residues leads us to reconsider. Pareto certainly assumed that elite

behaviours reflect patterned distributions of individual psychological characteristics.

His theory is one of ‘social personality’ in at least this limited sense. However, his