Elites without Hierarchies: Intermediaries, 'Agency' and the super-rich

Davies, Will. 2017. Elites without Hierarchies: Intermediaries, 'Agency' and the super-rich. In: Ray Forrest; Sin Yee Koh and Bart Wissink, eds. Cities and the Super-Rich: Real Estate, Elite Practices, and Urban Political Economies. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 19-38. ISBN 9781137557155 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

The super-rich today represent a challenge to sociological enquiry, seeing as their principle characteristic would appear to be strategies for divorcing themselves from the constraints of public institutions, discourses, identities and legal constraints. It is not clear that conventional theories of class or elites adequately capture the way in which wealth is insulated from political or public interference. Inspired by Simmel's account of money as a type of teleological vacuum - a sheer absence of any fixed purpose - this chapter considers an alternative way of conceiving of the super-rich, in terms of networks of 'agents' or intermediaries. It is argued that 'agents' represent an important constituent in the contemporary political economy of the super-rich, because they act on behalf of the very wealthy, so as to prevent wealth from becoming imbroiled in political or cultural controversies.

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Book Section

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Politics > Political Economy Research Centre


28 February 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

18 Nov 2019 09:25

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 13:22



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