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DSOC 1375A - They are the 1%: A Snapshot of Sociology of Elites Today

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


None. Just an interest in social inequality and a taste for both reading and empirical research.

Course Description

Taking its cue from philosopher David Hume's famous statement in The First Principles of Government (“Nothing appears more surprizing to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few”) and drawing on both Weber and Bourdieu's idea of a sociodicy of elites, the course will study the narrowing in size of those who exert social domination in today's capitalism (with a main focus on Europe and North America). It will take a deeper look into the ethos of upper classes (or upper upper classes) and describe their way of life, their habits in terms of consumption and their social networks. It will also account for the place of these dominant social groups in the field of power. Students will be asked to work on material (articles, excerpts from books or films) that help to document these issues. Accordingly, some time will be dedicated to thinking about the best sociological methods for analysing the gap between this 1 % and the rest of the population (“the 99 %”), as well as for tackling social mobilisations against it and political counter-reactions such as populism.


BOSVIEUX-ONYEKWELU, Charles (Enseignant)

Course validation

Assessment will be based on three types of assignments, added to a grade based on participation in classes: an oral presentation on one question, a research paper on a topical issue involving a sociology of elites approach, and a mid-term paper in class. Oral presentations can be prepared in a group of 2 to 3 students

Required reading

Le concert des puissants, by François Denord and Paul Lagneau-Ymonet