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
France Compared to Britain and Germany
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.
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
Promises of Proximity as Articulated by Changing Moral Elites
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
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.
Evolution of Organized Crime Networks in the Russian Far East
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.
This article is an extension of my book on The Sociology of Elite Distinction. In this work, I sought to offer a discussion on the merits and limits of the major models of interpretation dealing with social distinction when confronted with empirical realities in a large number of environments. Here, I propose some reflections about the way historians have been using these sociological models. Although universalistic propositions were often developed, I argue that most grand theories were typical products of their time and also of the societies respectively taken into consideration. The question therefore arises as to what extent their (retrospective) use by historians seeking a conceptual apparatus is always pertinent. It is concluded that many theoretical models are valuable providing we do not see them as “reading grids” that could be systematically applied but rather as analytical tools which are more or less operational according to the contexts studied.