N. Krausz-Lahav and A. Kemp
IF 2.789 Rank: 17/148 (Sociology) Q1, Social Problems
Publication year: 2019

The crisis of neoliberalism and the upsurge of populist politics have renewed interest in how contemporary economic elites justify their privileged position, trying to be “moral” and “rich” in an era of increasing inequality and an anti-elite climate. We addressed this question through an ethnographic analysis of the socio-cultural life of the heirs of the Israeli economic elite and of the boundary-making processes that philanthropy allows them as they face internal and external challenges. Adopting analytical tools from a cultural process approach to inequality and a contextual approach to elite distinction, we suggest that the heirs generate distinct social and symbolic position within a changing field of power by presenting themselves as an “elite without elitism.” This is accomplished through a mutually reinforcing interplay between intra-elite distinctions and “inter-class inconspicuous distinction.” We contribute to the current analysis of elite reproduction “beyond Bourdieu” first by pointing at the (re)production of power and difference within the elite, and second by showing that where distinctions are drawn, matters.

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