Keeping up appearances: the changing face of the elites and their hobbies


Manage episode 282687523 series 2849959
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Contributor(s): Dr Sam Friedman, Dr Aaron Reeves | For more than a century, Who’s Who has functioned as a bible of the British establishment – the most trusted catalogue of who is (and who is not) in the country’s true upper echelons. Who’s Who allows elites to express their cultural preferences: their recreations and hobbies. By looking at 120 years of this data, Dr Sam Friedman (Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at LSE) and Dr Aaron Reeves (Visiting Senior Fellow in the International Inequalities Institute at LSE) examine how elites signal their superior social position via the consumption of culture. From aristocratic pursuits like polo and dressage, to highbrow interests such as opera and fine arts, to the ordinariness of simply walking the dog, what does the historical timeline of these cultural preferences tell us about elites’ changing relationship to wider society? The full paper, From Aristocratic to Ordinary: shifting modes of elite distinction (2020) can be read in the American Sociological Review: Find Dr Friedman and Dr Reeve’s article on this research in the LSE Research for the World online magazine.

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