The Anatomy Of The British Economic "Elite"

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Published In

New Directions In Elite Studies


This chapter provides the most comprehensive account of the high earners and their partners, drawing on the unusual resources of the Great British Class Survey, which has the largest sample of the very rich of any British data source. It explores the cultural and social features of the British rich to examine what kinds of elites they are. The chapter assesses whether the super-rich are primarily the cultural descendants of the traditional British upper classes. It describes contours of the highest-earning households in the UK, and the extent to which they differ from the rest of the population, from the next-richest, and among themselves to assess how different they are from the "merely" very well-off. The chapter examines patterns in the largest general British representative panel sample survey, "Understanding Society". However, it is uncertain whether these symbols still effectively grasp the nature of Britain's contemporary elites, given unusually rapid economic and social change from the 1970s.

Published By



O. Korsnes, J. Heilbron, J. Hjellbrekke, F. Bühlmann, and M. Savage

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