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Eric Langenbacher

One of the most important developments in the incipient Berlin Republic's memory regime has been the return of the memory of German suffering from the end and aftermath of World War II. Elite discourses about the bombing of German cities, the mass rape of German women by members of the Red Army, and, above all, the expulsion of Germans from then-Eastern Germany and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe have gained massive visibility in the last decade. Although many voices have lauded these developments as liberating, many others within Germany and especially in Poland—from where the vast majority of Germans were expelled—have reacted with fear. Yet, do these elite voices resonate with mass publics? Have these arguments had demonstrable effects on public opinion? This paper delves into these questions by looking at survey results from both countries. It finds that there has been a disjuncture between the criticisms of elites and average citizens, but that the barrage of elite criticisms leveled at German expellees and their initiatives now may be affecting mass attitudes in all cases.

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A gendered ethnography of elites

Women, inequality, and social reproduction

Luna Glucksberg

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

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Elite ethnography in an insecure place

The methodological implications of “studying up” in Pakistan

Rosita Armytage

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

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Elites and their Representation

Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives

Jean-Pascal Daloz

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.

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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

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Eric Godelier

Today there is a fascination with a new category of elites: the globalized management businessman. The notion of “elite” refers here to a group of people believed to be more competent in a particular field than others; Jack Welsh (GEC), Bill Gates (Microsoft) are among the best-known examples. The members of this social group have their own perception of reality and they also have a distinct class identity, recognizing themselves as separate and superior to the rest of society. Newcomers are socialized and co-opted by the group on the basis of internal criteria established by the existing group members. Therefore group members are more or less interchangeable and may move from one institution—in this case a corporation—to another within the group. Whether defined as heterogeneous or homogeneous, this group utilizes cultural mythologies that serve to legitimize their status and power: these are the focus of this article.

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Elites et Histoire des Sciences en France

Le Cas des Chimistes de L’Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles (CNRS), 1960–2000

Muriel Le Roux

Les chimistes des substances naturelles formèrent une communauté identifi able comme telle au cours des années 1960, moment où la discipline acquiert une autonomie. Relevant d’un domaine de recherche aussi bien académique qu’industriel, les personnels, suivant en cela l’évolution générale des métiers de la connaissance, sont devenus identifi ables comme chercheurs au cours de la même période. Si le mot même de chercheur employé pour défi nir le métier n’était pas dénué de puissance symbolique au début de la période, il apparaît que la situation présente une image inversée aujourd’hui. Une distinction s’est opérée entre lauréats et anonymes ; la distance s’est accrue entre le haut et la base de la pyramide professionelle imposant aux historiens de réinterroger la notion d’élite lorsque l’on cherche à écrire l’histoire des sciences du second XXe siècle.

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Stephen M. Lyon

Since independence in 1947, highly politicised kinship practices have shaped the country from rural agricultural villages to the highest legislative and executive branches of government and the military. Ideal models of patrilineal affiliation have defined and guided patterns of factional loyalties. Although my earlier work has principally focused on village networks and politics, the same patterns of factional alliances can be seen at national levels to shed light on the activities of party politics. The mechanisms adopted by the traditional landed elite, far from being challenged, are integral to the strategic success of non-landed elites in securing the top, public, elected positions of power. So, rather than suggesting landed elites have become irrelevant, I argue the source of wealth is ultimately less relevant than the broader socio-economic shard class and familial interests of a minority elite bound together through marriage.

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Elite de Façade et Mirages de l’Independance

Les Petits Entrepreneurs Etrangers en France dans l’Entre-Deux-Guerres

Claire Zalc

In the literature, immigrant entrepreneurs are described as the élite of the best “integrated” immigrants. Histories of migrant communities all insist on the role of the entrepreneurs as the center of the community and the symbol of social success. In this paper, I will discuss the diverse social meaning attached to being an entrepreneur for an immigrant in Paris during the interwar period. In order to describe the social position of immigrant entrepreneurs, I worked on professional careers, based on the study of more than two hundred applications for French nationality from foreign entrepreneurs during the first half of the twentieth century. It's hard to conclude that there is a one-way social mobility of entrepreneurs, either ascendant or descendent. While some went from the working class to owning a shop, eventually able to spend and save money, others became entrepreneurs as a necessity rather than choice.

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Christophe Charle

Thanks to a comparison of social and educational characteristics of elites in France, Germany and UK at the end of the nineteenth century, this contribution shows the specificities of the French case: a mixture of persistent traditional elites, akin to British and German ones, and the growing domination of a more recent economic and meritocratic bourgeoisie pushing for liberalism and democracy. Nevertheless, evolutions in the same direction as France are also perceptible in the two monarchies and give birth to a new divergence when after WWI the democratization of elites go faster in UK and Germany than in France where the law bourgeoisie remain dominant and blocks the reforms asked by more popular or petit bourgeois groups present in the political parties on the left.