Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


2 May 2018

Daniel R. Smith (Anglia Ruskin University) - On ‘gentry aesthetics’ and elite world making: Competing economies of worth and justification in elite social practices

Presented By Daniel R. Smith, Anglia Ruskin University
  • 1:00-2:00 pm CRCC Seminar Series
  • U1.22 Brockington Building

About this event

The sociology of elites is entering into not merely a renaissance but an expansion of its horizons. Established theories of elites concern questions of social reproduction: how elites monopolise positions and reproduce social structures. More recent calls in the sociology of elites, however, seek to outline and theorise the processes by which elites and their power come to shape, transform and stabilize social worlds. This paper explores the processes by which elite worlds are made and become subject to competing processes of justification. Developing Boltanski & Thévenot’s typology of political economies of worth outlined in On Justification, the paper explores elite social worlds and practices through the context of (a) the domestic polity of social class and consciousness of elite identities, (b) the civic polity of a common humanity, and (c) the polity of fame and market value. Overall I claim that elite identities at present in British culture are being managed by a process wherein competing regimes of worth become the means to at once navigate a perceived essentialism to ‘class positions’, as much the means to enact ways of preserving the ‘reality of class’ in British culture.