Elites Without Hierarchies: Intermediaries, ‘Agency’ and the Super-Rich

Part of the The Contemporary City book series (TCONTCI)


A principal characteristic of the super-rich today is their distance from the constraints of public institutions, discourses, identities and legal constraints. It is not clear that conventional theories of class or elites adequately capture the way in which wealth is insulated from political or public interference. Inspired by Simmel’s account of money as a type of teleological vacuum—a sheer absence of any fixed purpose—this chapter considers an alternative way of conceiving of the super-rich, in terms of networks of ‘agents’ or intermediaries. It is argued that ‘agents’ represent an important constituent in the contemporary political economy of the super-rich, because they act on behalf of the very wealthy, so as to prevent wealth from becoming embroiled in political or cultural controversies.


Corporate Governance Cultural Capital Agent Problem Fund Manager Private Tutor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics and International Relations, GoldsmithsUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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