The whole issue of elites and elitism is very much bound up with that of social ranking and, in the social sciences especially, the question of social ranking is a prime topic. Indeed, observers of the social science scene might be forgiven for assuming that sociology in particular is obsessed with the matter of class. The additional co-ordinate for studying stratification is that of status, and status with its strong connotation of esteem is very much associated with certain types of elite. The relationship between status and class tends to be close, particularly in modern societies, but — as we shall see — it is not an inevitable or even necessary connection. Elite formation is itself subject to certain condition. Elites come in various forms and with markedly different orientations. Some elites are of a strongly traditionalist type and have a high resistance to change, and traditionalism has often taken a military or sacerdotal form.