Culture and Inequality Podcast (European Center for the Study of Culture and Inequality) / Fall 2020

Episode 10: Elites cultures
Giselinde Kuipers, Sebastien Chauvin (University of Lausanne) and Bruno Cousin (Sciences-Po, Paris, FR)

In this episode, Giselinde speaks with Bruno Cousin (assistant professor at SciencesPo Paris) and Sébastien Chauvin (associate prof at University of Lausanne) about the elite culture of what is popularly called ‘the top 1 percent’. Based on their research on the French Caribbean luxury destination of St Barths, social clubs in Milan, and Ashley Mears’ ethnographic work on ‘party girls’ and promoters in VIP nightclubs, they discuss questions about elite culture in a time of globalization. What do we learn from ethnographic work on the top 1 percent? How do elites manage to exploit others’ capital? How are elite distinction patterns changing in a time of globalization?

And what are the theoretical implications for Bourdieusian approaches?

Readings
Cousin, Bruno and Sébastien Chauvin (2017). Old Money, Networks and Distinction: The Social and Service Clubs of Milan’s Upper Classes. Pp. 147-165 in Cities and the Super-Rich. Real Estate, Elite Practices, and Urban Political Economies, edited by Ray Forrest, Sin Yee Koh and Bart Wissink. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Cousin, Bruno and Sébastien Chauvin (2013). Islanders, immigrants and millionaires: the dynamics of upper-class segregation in St Barts, French West Indies. Pp. 186-200 in Geographies of the Super-Rich, edited by Iain Hay. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
Mears, Ashley (2015), “Girls as elite distinction. The appropriation of bodily capital”, Poetics, 53, 2015, p.22-37.

Additional materials
Cousin, Bruno, Shamus Khan and Ashley Mears. 2018. “Theoretical and methodological pathways for research on elites.” Socio-Economic Review 16(2): 225-249.
Mears, Ashley (2020). Very Important People. Status and Beauty in the Global Party Circuit. Princeton: Princeton University Press.