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Introduction

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

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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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Voluntarism

Promises of Proximity as Articulated by Changing Moral Elites

Anders Sevelsted

meaning of voluntarism in relation to social provision as articulated by what I propose to call a “moral elite,” namely the groups that at various points in time have had the ability to shape the content of the concept through their access to specialized

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Closeness and critique among Brazilian philanthropists

Navigating a critical ethnography of wealth elites

Jessica Sklair

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

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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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Shadowing the Bar

Studying an English Professional Elite

Justine Rogers

Once the most easily recognizable status profession, the barristers' profession or the Bar is now faced with new regulatory demands, sources of competition and commercial pressures and can, to some extent, be regarded as a contested elite. With methodology at the core of the analysis, this paper addresses the complexities of identifying and studying an historically elite group, especially when, during the research, one is being gently socialized into the ways of the group. In the process, this paper illuminates many of the norms, rituals, and social and psychological dynamics of the Bar, a group aware of its changing position and the threats and opportunities this poses.

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Trouble in Para-sites

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.

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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.

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Taysir Nashif

This article identifies a series of educational characteristics, such as place and level of education attained by individuals, their fields of specialization, and the knowledge of languages. The focus is on members of the Jewish Agency for Palestine—a leading organization of the Yishuv—during the British Mandate (1921-1948). Elite educational variables were potentially significant in a number of different ways: ensuring greater political effectiveness, establishing and promoting stronger ties with the people among whom elite members lived, articulating and communicating of political messages, and so on. This article claims that educational traits have been significant in facilitating the eventual realization of the Zionist project.