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In Pursuit of PrivilegeA History of New York City's Upper Class and the Making of a Metropolis$
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Clifton Hood

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172165

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172165.001.0001

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The Antielitist Elite

The Antielitist Elite

The 1970s and Beyond

Chapter:
(p.300) 8 The Antielitist Elite
Source:
In Pursuit of Privilege
Author(s):

Clifton Hood

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231172165.003.0008

The cultural transformations of the 1960s and 1970s created problems and opportunities for elites. In these decades the upper- and middle classes went from being seen as the wellspring of social virtue in Victorian culture to being perceived as repressed, stuffy, and out of touch; after all, they were the prime beneficiaries of a status quo that was now found wanting. From lording it over commoners in the eighteenth century, to loathing the dangerous classes in the nineteenth century, many elite New Yorkers came around to romanticizing African-Americans and other lower-class groups as exemplars of human spirit and social justice. These actions were in many cases genuine, yet in espousing civil rights causes and tackling discrimination and poverty, in exposing the falseness and superficiality of genteel society, upper-class New Yorkers also established their own heightened sensitivity as anti-elitists and their own legitimacy. Corporate elites thus championed achievement and diversity as the foundation of a more democratic, anti-elitist elite.

Keywords:   civil rights, rights revolution, corporate elites, hybrid upper class, ant-elitism, achievement, diversity

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