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Symbolic Capital in the 21st Century: Managing Status, Reputation and Influence in a Changing World

Academic & Research
The CEU Campus
Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 10:30 am


Title: Symbolic capital in the 21st century: Managing status, reputation and influence in a changing world
Date: Wednesday, 25 May, 2016
Location: Gellner room, Monument Building (MB 103)
Time: 10:30 a.m. followed by light lunch in the Gellner foyer


Alexandra Kowalski, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology

Alexander V. Astrov, Associate Professor, Department of International Relations

Karl Hall, Associate Professor, Department of History

Xymena Kurowska, Associate Professor, Department of International Relations



Liviu Matei, Provost

Short description

In his recent economic bestseller, Capital in the 21st Century, Thomas Piketty argues that our age may be the most inegalitarian in all of human history. What then becomes of symbolic capital in this new, unequal age? As wealth has concentrated into fewer private hands, modern cultural and political institutions — in public education, public culture, science, art, and media — have lost material and moral support. Ideologies promoting competition, entrepreneurialism, and branding have replaced other ideals and modes of doing. The liberal credo of freedom, democracy, and rights itself is met with more explicit challenges and incredulity.

This panel invites the CEU community to reflect on symbolic hierarchies in an age of radical transformation—of unregulated capitalism, of welfare state decline, of multi-polar international relations, and of global communication networks. How are status, credibility, and influence achieved by individuals and states? What are the new or emerging norms of representation, prestige, and diplomacy? How differently do students, scientists, academics, artists, evaluate and get evaluated? Who controls the new hierarchies of taste? And what might be the consequences of these changes for the future of politics, culture, and knowledge?