Centring families in elite studies

Hosted by the Department of Sociology

Wolfson Theatre, Cheng Kin Ku Building


Professor Shamus Khan

Professor Shamus Khan

Willard Thorp Professor of Sociology and American Studies at Princeton University


Professor Mike Savage

Professor Mike Savage

Martin White Professor of Sociology, LSE

Social reproduction is a central question in sociology, and within the study of elites.

While families are central to our accounts of social reproduction, they are frequently lost within accounts of elites. In this lecture Shamus Khan seeks to change the unit of analysis, centring not individuals but families within the studies of the super-rich. Khan argues that such an approach transforms what we see and what we find when we look at the social world. Drawing upon the case of the Astor family, as well as the work of Shay O'Brien (co-author on a related paper), Khan shows how placing families at the centre of elite studies greatly enriches sociological inquiry.

Meet the speaker and chair: 

Shamus Khan (@shamuskhan) is Willard Thorp Professor of Sociology and American Studies at Princeton University. He writes on culture, inequality, gender, and elites. He is the author of over 100 articles, books, and essays, including Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St Paul’s School (Princeton), The Practice of Research (Oxford, with Dana Fisher), Approaches to Ethnography: Modes of Representation and Analysis in Participant Observation (Oxford, with Colin Jerolmack), and Sexual Citizens: Sex, Power, and Assault on Campus (W.W. Norton, with Jennifer Hirsch), which was named a best book of 2020 by NPR.

Mike Savage (@MikeSav47032563) is Martin White Professor of Sociology and Wealth, Elites and Tax Justice research programme leader at the International Inequalities Institute at LSE. His most recent books include the co-authored Social Class in the 21st Century, and The Return of Inequality: Social Change and the Weight of History.


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