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Good eggs, fixers and movers: the cultural elite in Wales

Clayton, Alice Charlotte 2013. Good eggs, fixers and movers: the cultural elite in Wales. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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This thesis explores the attitudes, beliefs and opinions of members of the cultural elite in Wales. This term is used to mean people who hold prominent, high profile and prestigious positions within the culture sector in Wales, specifically located around the capital city of Cardiff. Through the analysis of data collected from in-depth semi-structured interviews with twenty key informants I examine how they construct their biographies and make sense of the social world which they inhabit. I address two main research questions, firstly whether they see themselves as belonging to a closed, restricted and self-referencing network. Secondly, how do they try to justify their positions of power and privilege in society? Using themes from the literature I also consider to what extent the different sectors (culture, business and political) overlap, how the network is constructed in terms of a core and a periphery, what purpose this serves, and how the network is at once generally cohesive but also not without some internal divisions. This is all done in a specifically Welsh context and I argue that their national identity has a very important role to play in how they define and experience culture, and that this directly impacts on how they explain their reasons and motivations for their involvement. I use Bourdieu’s notions of cultural and social capital and demonstrate how these are exchangeable commodities. While members of the cultural elite are in possession of large amounts of cultural capital, success in the network depends on them being able to demonstrate this, and this in turn increases their social capital. The act of networking is fundamental for sustaining the network and this is a performance on their part. How the interviewees performed for me, the interviewer, lies at the heart of the discussion.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: The Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISARD)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2018 23:48

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