Introduction: A gendered, critical ethnography of elites This article answers the call of this theme section—for an anthropology of elites that is both ethnographic and attuned to political economic critique—by looking ethnographically at the
Women, inequality, and social reproduction
The methodological implications of “studying up” in Pakistan
innovative approach to understanding forms of collectivity and cohesion that bind elites into wider social groupings, and the quotidian spaces in which political and economic crises are made and managed. Yet undertaking ethnography with elites also entails
Ethnographic engagements with global elites
Paul Robert Gilbert and Jessica Sklair
: 494 ; see Glucksberg, this issue; Sklair, this issue). But all this should not be news to anthropology. In the periodic attempts that have been made to carve out a subfield that might be called the anthropology of elites ( Abbink and Salverda 2013
The term “elite” was introduced in the seventeenth century to describe commodities of an exceptional standard and the usage was later extended to designate social groups at the apex of societies. The study of these groups was established as part of the social sciences in the late nineteenth century, mainly as a result of the work of three sociologists: Vilfredo Pareto, Gaetano Mosca and Roberto Michels. The core of their doctrine is that at the top of every society lies, inevitably, a small minority which holds power, controls the key resources and makes the major decisions. Since then, the concept of elite(s) has been used in several disciplines such as anthropology, history or political science, but not necessarily in reference to this “classical elite theory.” The concept is strongly rejected, however, by many “progressive” scholars—precisely because of its elitist denotation.
Paul Robert Gilbert
concern about class or elites in the anthropological literature on inequality and development in Bangladesh. The postindependence political settlement in which political leaders in Dhaka entered relationships of patronage with landowners ( jotedars ), who
Deference and Influence in the Ethnography of Epistemic Elites
Paul Robert Gilbert
Through his enduring efforts to interrogate the regulative ideals of fieldwork, George Marcus has empowered doctoral students in anthropology to rethink their ethnographic encounters in terms that reflect novel objects and contexts of inquiry. Marcus' work has culminated in a charter for ethnographic research among 'epistemic communities' that requires 'deferral' to these elite modes of knowing. For adherents to this programme of methodological reform, the deliberately staged 'para-site' – an opportunity for ethnographers and their 'epistemic partners' to reflect upon a shared intellectual purpose – is the signature fieldwork encounter. This article draws on doctoral research carried out among the overlapping epistemic communities that comprise London's market for mining finance, and reviews an attempt to carve out a para-site of my own. Troubled by this experience, and by the ascendant style of deferent anthropology, I think through possibilities for more critical ethnographic research among epistemic elites.
Reflections on Power, Collaboration, and Ethnography in the Anthropology of Policy
This article constitutes a pragmatic consideration of how to orchestrate access to 'powerful' individuals and a theoretical reflection on what efforts to negotiate access reveal about the anthropologist's subterranean assumptions about power, collaboration and ethnographic data. Too frequently, powerful actors and the contemporary settings they inhabit appear to be obstacles to ethnographic research. In contrast, I propose that we explore the ways in which working with powerful actors can enhance, rather than inhibit, the possibilities of anthropological data collection. In this article, I present several examples from my field research in the Mexican government to show how the ethnographic encounter can be constructive of the political process, not jut an appendage to it. By directing attention to the ways in which our actual research practices (and not just our findings) intervene in the political space, we can re-orient our expectations about data and the ontology of anthropological expertise.
Constructing proximity and distance through a Kenyan gated high-rise
residents-to-be—a relatively wealthy and, as is often the case, racialized elite—from the surrounding city. This fits with Stephen Graham's (2018: 177) description of contemporary vertical residences as enabling elites to “to float serenely above the urban
Navigating a critical ethnography of wealth elites
Rousseff in the areas of poverty reduction, state welfare, and labor legislation ( Economist 2009 ; Smith 2016 ). Rather less attention, however, has been paid to the spectacular accumulation of wealth among the country’s corporate and financial elites
The Imprisonment of Women in Eighteenth-Century Siberia
coerce ordinary and elite women. Western historical studies of witchcraft in seventeenth-century Russia include accounts of the arrest, interrogation, and imprisonment of male and female witches in local jails or prisons of the Riazriad, the Chancellery