The Celebrity Logic of the Global Financial Elite

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 6:00 PM
Room: 423
Oral Presentation
Robert VAN KRIEKEN , University of Sydeny, University of Sydney, Australia
This paper examines a particular aspect of the development of a global financial elite, its organizing around the production of particular kinds of celebrity CEOS and financial ‘stars’ which then intersect and form alliances with those at the peak of other elite fields such as sport, entertainment, journalism, and science. The analysis looks at the workings of what Robert Merton called the ‘Matthew effect’, which concerns the ongoing accumulation and leveraging of advantage, and how it works across a variety of fields including finance, to produce a global system of interlocking elites. In a sense the paper is an attempt to re-work C. Wright Mills’ The Power Elite  for the present day, looking at the performative aspects of the global financial elite and the competitive demands placed on the presentation of self and representation of elite status. The overall aim is to show how the process of ‘refeudalization’  outlined by Sighard Neckel has its core the production of global celebrity across a range of field, as the contemporary version of a global aristocracy.