chapter  4
33 Pages

Just like us?

Normcore plutocrats and the popularisation of elitism
ByJo Littler

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This chapter examines how elites present themselves as ordinary: as 'just like us'. It suggests that we might consider such presentations of the super-rich in relation to a broader palette of social dispositions and a wider differentiated range of mediated cultural tropes. These are: first, the 'normcore plutocrat', when the ultra-wealthy are presented as 'just like us'; second, the 'kind parent', when they look imperiously after the needs of society; and third, the 'luxurious winner', when they flaunt material excess. The chapter traces such motifs across a range of media, in the process considering a number of examples including the rehabilitation of the UK royal family, changes in chief executive officer (CEO) culture, the website Rich Kids of Instagram, the TV series Downton Abbey and the films Annie and The King's Speech, analysing them in relation to changes in both the demographics of the international super-rich and to the fluctuating meanings of 'meritocracy'.