Call for Papers: Socio-Economic Review Special Issue: Elites, Economy and Society

“Elites, Economy and Society: New Approaches and Findings”

Special Issue of Socio-Economic Review 


Submission deadline: January 18, 2016

Publication of the special issue in the Socio-Economic Review: 2017


Recent economic findings and global protest movements have brought increased scholarly attention to elites and the wealthy. While the economic position and material resources of elites relative to the rest of society, and their evolutions in the past decades, are now starting to be well documented (Piketty and Saez 2003, Piketty 2014), we still have an incomplete view of this group (Khan, 2012). This special issue of the Socio-Economic Review calls for papers that document and theorize the social, cultural and political dimensions of the economic elite and the contexts and consequences associated with their recent rise, with a particular focus on the various processes and mechanisms fostering inequality and privilege.

We know that elites control a greater share of the income and wealth than they did just a generation ago. But how did this happen, and what does it mean for the interplay of economy and society? One of the oldest traditions in elite research, network analysis, has recently suggested an “unraveling” of national social ties (Mizruchi 2013), while others show the increase of economic variance within the upper class itself (e.g., Godechot 2012) and ascent of a more and more global bourgeoisie. Yet considerably less research addresses the content of social ties among elites. What consequences do both the structure and content of these elite relations have on the current economic and social order?  This key issue may be addressed at different levels, including the social relations among the economic elites, between economic elites and those from other fractions of the field of power (Bourdieu 1996), and their relations with other social groups.

Organizational studies have also called for renewed interest in “institutional approaches to elites” (Zald and Lounsbury 2010) that draw upon contemporary models of power and culture to inform new knowledge about social dynamics involving the elite. In particular, the global financial crisis has brought elites and their legitimacy to the forefront of organizational analysis (Morgan, Hirsch and Quack 2015).  This Special Issue seeks to be part of this broad call.  In addition to the approaches above, the call particularly encourages submissions that provide descriptions and analyses of the lives, lifestyles, experiences, attitudes, perspectives, and cultural repertoires of the elite.

As a foundation for new theoretical approaches, the papers for this volume must be solidly empirically based.  At this early stage of research on 21st century elites, we require documentation of lives and scenes we rarely witness, organizations that are often opaque, and processes that are complex (and too often addressed in a simplified way). Thick description – especially when based on ethnography or/and in-depth interviews – should help us better understand the life-worlds of elites, and the processes of elite formation and transformations of economy and society. Given the globalized character of these transformations, we welcome accounts and analyses of elites from around the world, and/or that are global in their character.

Key themes

The call is open to all topics that fit the general scope of the Special Issue, but we wish to illustrate potential themes and the sorts of elites or contexts that would be of potential interest. For instance, papers may address one or more of the following:

  • Dynamics of wealth accumulation
  • Legitimization processes of economic inequalities (e.g., Lamont et al. 2014)
  • Economic elites within the power elite
  • Economic elites in professional contexts
  • Consumption and sociability practices of elites
  • Mechanisms of social closure among the elite
  • Institutions and places (families, schools, clubs, organization boards, regular gatherings, residential communities, etc.) that bring together one or several fractions of the elite(s)

Papers must be consistent with the aims of the Socio-Economic Review, which welcomes insights from a wide range of disciplines (sociology, history, anthropology, political science, economics, etc) and methodological perspectives.  While authors can write on varieties of elites, papers must address the intersection between economy and social processes (i.e. the social underpinnings of the economy) to be considered for publication in the Socio-Economic Review. Authors are strongly encouraged to review the editorial policy before submitting papers.



Papers will be reviewed following the journal’s normal double-blinded review process and criteria.  The maximum length of articles including references, notes and abstract is 10,000 words. Articles must be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 150 words. The main document has to be anonymous and should contain title, abstract, and strictly avoid self-references. Submissions should be directed through the on-line submission system:

For further guidelines on submissions and the editorial statement of the Socio-Economic Review, please visit our website at:

For further information for this Special Issue, please contact any of the Guest Editors:  Bruno Cousin (, Shamus Khan ( ), or Ashley Mears (


Bourdieu, Pierre. 1996 (1st French ed.: 1989). The State Nobility. Elite Schools in the Field of Power. Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press.

Godechot, Oliver.  2012. “Is finance responsible for the rise in wage inequality in France?”  Socio-Economic Review 10 (3): 447-470.

Khan, Shamus. 2012. “The Sociology of Elites” Annual Review of Sociology 38: 361-377.

Lamont, Michelle, Stefan Beljean, Matthew Clair.  2014.  “What is missing? Cultural processes and causal pathways to inequality.”  Socio-Economic Review 12 (3): 573-608.

Mizruchi, Mark.  2013. The Fracturing of the American Corporate Elite. Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.

Morgan, Glenn, Paul M. Hirsch, and Sigrid Quack, eds. 2015. Elites on Trial. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 43, United Kingdom: Emerald.

Piketty, Thomas. 2014 (1st French ed.: 2013). Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Piketty, Thomas and Emmanuel Saez. 2003. “Income inequality in the United States 1913–1998.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 148: 1–39.

Zald, Mayer N. and Michael Lounsbury. 2010. “The Wizards of Oz: Towards an Institutional Approach to Elites, Expertise and Command Posts.” Organization Studies 31(07): 963–996.

Guest editors

Bruno Cousin, University of Lille

Shamus Khan, Columbia University

Ashley Mears, Boston University

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