Elisabeth Schimpfössl: Rich Russians’ Morality of Success

Klasse- og eliteseminaret ved UiO inviterer til et nytt seminar 03.mars med gjest Elisabeth Schimpfössl for en diskusjon om den russiske elitens visjon om hvordan samfunnet bør organiseres, og hvilken rolle de selv spiller i dette.

Når: Onsdag 03.mars 2021, kl. 13.15-15.00
Hvor: Zoom. Link vil publiseres i facebookarrangement.

In this seminar, Schimpfössl will discuss wealthy Russians’ vision of how society should be organised and the role they see for themselves. Her research is based on interviews with 80 Russian multi-millionaires and billionaires, their spouses and their children. The interview analysis highlights the role of Soviet history and shows how it is integrated into, and harmonises with, contemporary upper-class Russians’ notions of meritocracy. Based on these Russian-specific findings, she argues that drawing on international sociological research could considerably advance our understanding of how Russian elites ideologically construe and morally legitimise the concentration of money and power in their own hands and how they model themselves as ‘good’ in their actions and ‘deserving’ of their fortunes. Conversely, she suggests that this new perspective on elites (in particular rich Russians’ references to their superior genes and their unwavering preference for private capital as a means to develop society, if necessary, to the detriment of democracy) has great potential to complement established scholarship on Western elites, which emphasise hard work but tend to gloss over biology.


Elisabeth Schimpfössl is a senior lecturer in sociology and policy at Aston University.