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The Mobilities of the Super Rich

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

21/09/2010

Small in number but great in influence, the super-rich shape the contours of global capitalism. Occupying the top tier of the so-called human pyramid their activities are scrutinized, emulated, and benchmarked in the production of urban and leisure landscapes; the power-knowledge venues that underpin and demonstrate their success. The super-rich are instrumental in the socialization of desire for unattainable and unsustainable standards of consumption styled as luxury, privilege, prestige, and 'class'. These associations form a brand vocabulary that the global elite aspire to and promote through an embarrassment of riches that manifest in venues like Dubai, perhaps the wildest materialization of an age of excess. The extravagant lifestyles of the super-rich modulate between these nodes of power and free-floating, unhindered mobility. Today the super-rich continue to flourish but in a changing scenario. The current economic crisis and rising concerns about the moral legitimacy of economic elites coincides with stern warnings over the civilizational risks posed by global warming and the imminent depletion of oil acknowledged by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency respectively. Against a turbulent horizon of climate related catastrophes, expectations of global equality raise seemingly irresoluble dilemmas that question further the moral legitimacy of the super-rich. Are recent debates about the need of a new economic and moral order a passing trend or do they signify the beginning of a vigorous contestation of the lifestyles of the super-rich? If so, what are the implications for global mobilities? What are the impacts of a growing class of super-rich from the developing world? What are the future scenarios of mobility regimes based on intensive use of natural resources? What conceptual and methodological tools might be most appropriate to identify path dependencies and critical turning points in high-carbon mobility regimes? The workshop will discuss the methodological and conceptual challenges of researching the mobilities of global elites at a time of economic crisis, growing scarcity of resources, and emergent economic and political powers.

Event (Conference)

TitleThe Mobilities of the Super Rich
Date21/09/1021/09/10
CityLancaster
CountryUnited Kingdom