Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The nouveau rich

In today’s globalized society where information of all types is more readily accessed as before there are instances when even bits of “elite”-level education (albeit a watered-down version) and “culture” (modes of living) can trickle down to the lower classes. For example, in talking with an expert in the field an observation was made that the nouveau rich that is being created by the illicit drug trade appear to be picking up on certain cultural practices followed by the elites. These actions being copied by the recently working-class individuals stand out of place mainly because such actions are exaggerated. It has been suggested by many that it is as if these new rich do not know how to be rich.
For instance, there was the sudden construction of “narco mansiones” (drug trade mansions) that sprung up down the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez valley where money was no obstacle. The owners went over the top in trying to give the impression to others that they were now a part of an elite class and in their attempt the appearance of the homes took on an eccentric air. The difference in the way these individuals were raised (in some cases with limited life-chances, limited education in quantity and quality, and thus with cultural capital unlike the old rich) became manifest in the way they lived their lives. In a world of imitation not their own. What is your take on this? Are these nouveau rich on their way to restructuring and reconceptualizing what it means to be and to live rich?

1 comment:

  1. The book "Richistan" (by Robert Frank)is a journalistic account of The Rich in America. The author discusses the differences in habitus b/t the new rich and those with old money. He certainly shows that what it means to be rich is changing. This is interesting reading...

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