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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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"The Harder the Rain, the Tighter the Roof"

Evolution of Organized Crime Networks in the Russian Far East

Tobias Holzlehner

Organized crime is not a new phenomenon in Russia; however, it differs in contemporary Russia significantly, in quality as well as in quantity, from its predecessors. Using the Russian Far East, especially the city of Vladivostok, as a case study, this article sketches the evolution of organized crime in the region during the last 20 years. Tracing interconnections between various criminal groups through time, the article shows that quick reactions to new market opportunities were essential for successful illegal entrepreneurship. Powerful local elites have emerged and monopolized particular sectors of the industry (especially the fishing and shipping business). The case studies illustrate the interlinkages between organized crime structures, big business, and the political aspirations of powerful individuals. This article is a proposition to move beyond the economic paradigm in organized crime research and to focus more intensively on the multiple functions organized crime groups carry out in contemporary Russia.