Russia’s Social Upper Class: From Ostentation to Culturedness

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This article discusses examples of strategies employed by representatives of Russia’s new social upper class to acquire social distinction. By the late 2000s many of the upper-class Russians included in this study distanced themselves from the conspicuous ostentation ascribed to the brutish 1990s. Instead, they strove to gain legitimacy for their social position by no longer aggressively displaying their wealth, but instead elaborating more refined and individualized tastes and manners and reviving a more cultured image and self-image. These changes found their expression in various modes of social distinction ranging from external signs, such as fashion and cars, to ostentation vicariously exercised through the people these upper-class Russians surrounded themselves with.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-81
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Volume65
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

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