Elisabeth Schimpfössl: Rich Russians’ Morality of Success

Elisabeth Schimpfössl: Rich Russians’ Morality of Success 

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In this seminar, I will discuss wealthy Russians’ vision of how society should be organised and the role they see for themselves. My research is based on interviews with 80 Russian multi-millionaires and billionaires, their spouses and their children. The interview analysis highlights the role of Soviet history and shows how it is integrated into, and harmonises with, contemporary upper-class Russians’ notions of meritocracy. Based on these Russian-specific findings, I argue that drawing on international sociological research could considerably advance our understanding of how Russian elites ideologically construe and morally legitimise the concentration of money and power in their own hands and how they model themselves as ‘good’ in their actions and ‘deserving’ of their fortunes. Conversely, I suggest that this new perspective on elites (in particular rich Russians’ references to their superior genes and their unwavering preference for private capital as a means to develop society, if necessary, to the detriment of democracy) has great potential to complement established scholarship on Western elites, which emphasise hard work but tend to gloss over biology.  


Elisabeth Schimpfössl is a senior lecturer in sociology and policy at Aston University. 

The event will be live on Zoom, please use this link



Klasse- og eliteseminaret
Publisert 29. des. 2020 15:22 - Sist endret 3. mars 2021 13:11