Elite Cultures: Anthropological Perspectives

Front Cover
Cris Shore, Stephen L. Nugent
Psychology Press, 2002 - Social Science - 260 pages
The anthropological study of elites has gained increasing prominence with the shift of the anthropological gaze toward issues of power, prestige and status in the societies of anthropologists themselves. However, our understanding of elites is often partial, obscured as it is by the theoretical weaknesses of Western models on the one hand and, on the other, by the difficulties in studying elites from the 'inside'. Drawing on a diverse, comparative ethnographic literature, this new volume examines the intimate spaces and cultural practices of those elites who occupy positions of power and authority across a variety of different settings. Using ethnographic case studies from a wide range of geographical areas, including Mexico, Peru, Amazonia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Europe, North America and Africa, the contributors explore the inner worlds of meaning and practice that define and sustain elite identities. They also provide insights into the cultural mechanisms that maintain elite status, and into the complex ways that elite groups relate to, and are embedded within, wider social and historical processes.; The book addresses a number of fundamental questions about the nature of elites and society such as; *How do elites in different societies maintain their position of domination? *How do elites reproduce themselves over time? *How do elites represent themselves? *How can we study elites anthropologically? *What implications does this study have for the discipline of anthropology? In exemplifying anthropology's contribution to the study of power, this book provides a welcome and timely addition to the literature as well as to current debates about the scope and direction of the discipline itself. Professor John Eade, University of Surrey, UK; Dr Sandra Evers Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands; Dr.
 

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Contents

Introduction Towards an anthropology of elites
1
World society as an old regime
20
Elites politics and peripheries
35
The powers behind the masks Mexicos political class and social elites at the end of the millennium
37
Gente boa elites in and of Amazonia
59
Elites on the margins mestizo traders in the southern Peruvian Andes
72
The vanishing elite the political and cultural work of nationalist revolution in Sri Lanka
89
The changing nature of elites in Indonesia today
108
Cultural heritage and the role of traditional intellectuals in Mali and Cameroon
143
The construction of elite status in the extreme Southern Highlands of Madagascar
156
Revising the past the heritage elite and Native peoples in North America
171
Revolution and royal style problems of postsocialist legitimacy in Laos
187
Elites professionals and networks
205
How far can you go? English Catholic elites and the erosion of ethnic boundaries
207
Presymptomatic networks tracking experts across medical science and the new genetics
225
Anthropologists lions and1or foxes An afterword
247

Elites hegemony and tradition
125
Settlers and their elites in Kenya and Liberia
127
Index
253
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