The Establishment generally denotes a dominant group or elite that holds power or authority in a nation or organization. The Establishment may be a closed social group which selects its own members (as opposed to selection by merit or election) or specific entrenched elite structures, either in government or in specific institutions.
The American Sociological Association states that the term is often used by those protesting a small group that dominates a larger organization. For example, in 1968 a group of academics set up the "Sociology Liberation Movement" to repudiate the leadership of the American Sociological Association, which they referred to as the "Establishment in American sociology".
In fact, any relatively small class or group of people having control can be referred to as The Establishment; and conversely, in the jargon of sociology, anyone who does not belong to The Establishment may be labelled an "outsider".
The term is most often used in Britain, in which context it includes leading politicians, senior civil servants, senior barristers and judges, aristocrats, Oxbridge academics, senior clergy in the established Church of England, the most important financiers and industrialists, governors of the BBC, and the members of and top aides to the royal family. For example, candidates for political office are often said to have to impress the "party establishment" in order to win endorsement. The term in this sense is sometimes mistakenly believed to have been coined by the British journalist Henry Fairlie, who in September 1955 in the London magazine The Spectator defined that network of prominent, well-connected people as "the Establishment", explaining:
The series focused on the exploits of the current incarnation of the group while defending Britain and the world from various threats including Daemonite attacks, invasion from little green Venusians, plagues of zombies, and an attempt at recreating the universe.
While the majority of the series was self-contained and had little connection with the rest of the Wildstorm Universe, several minor characters, concepts and hanging plot threads were incorporated into its run. It also was heavily influenced by British Pop Culture and incorporated various cameos and nods to the various TV series and novels that inspired it.
The title ran from November 2001 to November 2002.
The Establishment was a Londonnightclub which opened in October 1961, at 18 Greek Street, Soho and which became famous in retrospect for satire although at the time was more notable for jazz and other events. It was founded by Peter Cook and Nicholas Luard, both of whom were also important in the history of the magazine Private Eye. The name "The Establishment" is a play on the meaning of "establishment" as in "institution," i.e. the club itself, and the broader definition meaning the prevailing social order of the time, which the satirists who founded, funded and performed at the club typically undermined. Peter Cook called it "the only good title I ever came up with."