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"If you are so smart, should you also be rich, famous, and powerful?": A study of status attainment of American Rhodes Scholars

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Abstract:

Abstract

Generations of American Rhodes Scholarship winners have attained significant positions governing political, economic, and cultural institutions in the country. This analysis of 874 Scholars elected between 1947 and 1992 focuses on how these exceptional academic elites have obtained positions of leadership role, wealth and fame. The study finds that access to cultural resources enabled them to gain access to status hierarchy, namely credentials from elite schooling. The higher the position in status hierarchy, the greater the likelihood of having access to social ties and social networks in corresponding value dimension. Transforming cultural capital to social capital is the key to their success and their ability to monopolize social institutions.

Over the past fifty years, winners of Rhodes Scholarship have gained powerful public leadership roles as a result of accumulating cultural capital through elite schooling at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, an influence of an Oxford education over one’s awareness of international and public issues, and prestigious credentials from elite law schools, which enabled them to have access to corporate and civic boards, and social connections to governmental and social institutions.

The pathways to wealth among Rhodes Scholars once again were influenced by their education at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Their most prestigious form of higher education helped them to acquire professional credentials in law and medicine. As in the case of power, their credentials from elite professional schools led them to opportunities to monopolize corporate and civic boards. These decidedly enabled them to accumulate wealth.

The impact of elite credentials from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton along with their social connection to governmental and cultural institutions became an immensely important means to achieve fame and symbolic recognition.

The paper discusses important implications of these findings in light of the expanding democracy and a rising tide of meritocracy in higher education.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

social (69), rhode (56), cultur (50), scholar (47), educ (43), capit (35), institut (32), univers (28), power (27), elit (27), american (27), new (26), york (25), resourc (25), status (24), variabl (24), group (24), school (23), 1 (22), public (21), board (21),

Author's Keywords:

Cultural capital/Social capital, Status attainment, education and elite culture
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Name: American Sociological Association
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http://www.asanet.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p184193_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Youn, Ted. ""If you are so smart, should you also be rich, famous, and powerful?": A study of status attainment of American Rhodes Scholars" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, TBA, New York, New York City, Aug 11, 2007 <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p184193_index.html>

APA Citation:

Youn, T. I. , 2007-08-11 ""If you are so smart, should you also be rich, famous, and powerful?": A study of status attainment of American Rhodes Scholars" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, TBA, New York, New York City Online <PDF>. 2013-12-15 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p184193_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Abstract

Generations of American Rhodes Scholarship winners have attained significant positions governing political, economic, and cultural institutions in the country. This analysis of 874 Scholars elected between 1947 and 1992 focuses on how these exceptional academic elites have obtained positions of leadership role, wealth and fame. The study finds that access to cultural resources enabled them to gain access to status hierarchy, namely credentials from elite schooling. The higher the position in status hierarchy, the greater the likelihood of having access to social ties and social networks in corresponding value dimension. Transforming cultural capital to social capital is the key to their success and their ability to monopolize social institutions.

Over the past fifty years, winners of Rhodes Scholarship have gained powerful public leadership roles as a result of accumulating cultural capital through elite schooling at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, an influence of an Oxford education over one’s awareness of international and public issues, and prestigious credentials from elite law schools, which enabled them to have access to corporate and civic boards, and social connections to governmental and social institutions.

The pathways to wealth among Rhodes Scholars once again were influenced by their education at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Their most prestigious form of higher education helped them to acquire professional credentials in law and medicine. As in the case of power, their credentials from elite professional schools led them to opportunities to monopolize corporate and civic boards. These decidedly enabled them to accumulate wealth.

The impact of elite credentials from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton along with their social connection to governmental and cultural institutions became an immensely important means to achieve fame and symbolic recognition.

The paper discusses important implications of these findings in light of the expanding democracy and a rising tide of meritocracy in higher education.

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