Moving towards new forms of social success

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Social success is something of an enigma. Its source, or indeed, what it actually is, has escaped generations of thinkers and academics. From the bourgeois figure of the 18th and 19th century literature, through to the soft-winner of the 2000s' society's ideal of success has changed a great deal, and this evolution shows no signs of abating.
  3. Moving towards new formsof social success John'W. Leigh, TA Southem Illinois University at Carbondale Oct.22,2008Abstract: Social success is somethingof an enigma. Its source, or indeed, what it actually is, hasescaped generations of thinkers and academics. From the bourgeois figure of the 18th and 19th century literature,through to the soft-winner of the 2000s,iociety;s idealof success has changed a great deal, and thisevolution shows no signs of abating. Keywords: Social success, soft-winner, social ideal,bourgeois, legitimation, cultural studies American Sociologt Research Review, vol.l, nov. 2008 -CUP Draft N 3  Social success historically borrows from several sources. It's all a question of a subjective, evolutionary, and eminently cultural perspectivet. ln some societies, social success is even effectuated through a transformation of the body: some will display the opulence of their household by flaunting theportliness of their form2; others still will set themselvesapart from the working class (at leastthosewho work outdoors) by staying inthe shade, preservingtheir paleness. Closer to home, the capitalist system for the production of wealth has also generated multiple ways of displaying success. Thus, the bourgeois figure is ubiquitous in lSth and 19th century literature3. This last point imposes its stature through the weight of political responsibility (from paternalism to electoralengagement) and throughthe expression of a certain ostentationa with the invention of luxury , which was not at the time an industry in itself. Thisis also a success which inherits from itself, and assesses itself in terms of patrimony . In the 1980s, a new archetypal figure of success gradually emerged, notably once globalizationof the economy and financialisation took hold: that ofthe arroganttraders,shamelessly flaunting his quickly earned fortune with little ethical qualms. He conjures up the image of the trading robot6 (orthe raider in the words of Edward Lewis), ultra adapted to the system he serves, embodyingthe high-flying winner , with a tonedphysique, prepared for any moral, familial or social sacrifice necessary to secure the lifestyle characterised by his excesses. This kind of success does not spawn further success, quitethecontrary: it is the kingdom of quickly earned money. Andquickly spent:the benchmark is no longerpatrimony,but rather l Marshal Shalins, Culture and Practical Reason UniversityOf Chicago Press (February15,1978) 2 Evans-Pritchard's Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande Oxford University Press, (June24,1976) 3 Revolution and reaction in nineteenth century French literature, Georg Morris CohenBrandes,Russell & Russell(1960) a Beckert, S 2001 Propertied ofDifferentKind: Bourgeoisie and Lower Middle Class in the Nineteenth-CenturyUnited States in Burton J. Bledstein and Robert D. Johnston(eds.),The Middling Sorts: Explorationsin the History of the American Middle Class Routledge. 'Think Like a Winner! , Walter Doyle Staples, WilshireBook Company (March 1993) 'Success and Survival on Wall Street: Understanding the Mind of the Market,By Charles W.Smith , Rowman & Littleheld Publishers, lnc. (December 2001) American Sociologt Research Review, vol.I, nov.2008 - CUP - Draft N 3  the extemal signs of wealth 7. This example still persists in its vulgar guise underthe name bling-bling8. The excesses of this arrogantand materialisticwinner brought about, throughout the 1990s, an inverse trend. The systemalarms, itsmeaning escapes the individual, and it prefers to give up on the bitter competition for wealthe. The ideals of social success are, in themselves, less developed,and we think of them less readily in the private sector, often considered a refuge. This is the era of cocooning, of fooding l0, of refocusingonthehome (in terms of decorations, furnishings...). A sort of frightened, childish regression, leading one to cower within a 1O0-mile radius of theirhomelt. This is also the era wherethe necessities of decline and ecology expand rapidly and decisively, to the point of becominga ncw summons weighing on behaviour, and imposing on themits negative andanxious filter that some have dubbed eco-fatigue I2. More recently, we have seen a more mature kind of social success emerge, within the enlarged social classes, that some commentatorshave called soft-winner or windy-winner 13, in reference to a more flexible and etherealidea, to their status, and insofar as re-writingthe surfingrulebook, to the speed of a motorbikewith wind in theirhair . Peter Meiskins andPeter Whalley(CornellUniversity) geton to this subject of the peaceful revolution to.This phenomenon keeps acheck on itself largely through the impulse of the huge entry of women amongst the'Jean-Pascal Daloz(2003),Ostentation in Comparative:Culture and Elite, in DrFredrik Engelstad(ed.) Comparative Studies of Culture and Power(Comparative SocialResearch, Volume 2l), Emerald GroupPublishing Limited 'Rap Music and Street Consciousness (Music in American Life), Cheryl L. Keyes , Universityof Illinois Press (March 5, 2004) 'The Sociology of Elites, Michael Hartmann, T & F Books UK; I cdition (January29, 2008) to Consumer unit types and expenditures onfood away from home, Journal of Consumer Affairs,Winter, 1995 by Louis G. Pol, SukgooPak 1l Eat Where You Live: How to Find and Enjoy Fantastic Local and SustainableFood No Matter Where You Live, Lou Bendrick, Skipstone Press (September30, 2008 ) http :// PuttingWork In Its Place: A QuietRevolution, Peter Meiksins , Peter Whalley , Cornell University Press (August 31, 2004) 'o Putting Work In Its Place: A QuietRevolution, Peter Meiksins , Peter Whalley , CornellUniversity Press (August 3l ,2004) American Sociologt ResearchReview, vol.I, nov. 2008 - CUP - DraftN 3  professionallevels of successl5. Even if thematerialdimension of success remainscharged, this new waywhich isemerging characterises itselfprincipally negativelyinrelationto Previousmethods. Firstly,the soft-winner no longermaintainsan ostentatious relationship with the materialobjects supposed to embody his success. These will be integrated less artificiallyiâ irr,o tri, àay-to-day life, and will nolongeraim to create a rift betweenthe winner and theothers. Furthermore, the soft-winner no longer contrasts his private life with hisprofessional life. Strictly speaking,there wouldnot exist successat work forhim if this had to take root in a sacrifice in his personal life,in terms of his friends or family.Inthesamewaythatfeminismtaughtwomentonotacceptasemi- fulhlmentwhich would confinethem to the home17, the winner of the2010s does not accept success that will amputate him from apartof his existencel8' Additionally, andthese aspects arerelated, thesoft-winneris muchmoreliberated frompolitical correctness and ideological dogmas than his predecessors' His conscience fiom an ecologicalandcitizenship perspective, for example' doesn't make the best of themultiplication of the prescriptive summonses that lead to nii6.n behaviourle. Wonied about the planet20, he also knowsthathe canhave a bath or take a ride in a sports car (like Leonardo Di Capriopromotingthe TeslaRoadster, in additiontohisToyotaprius hybrid)without reallyputting the planet in danger by himself.The soft-winner looks for,in these fields as in the political domain,theintermediate andreasonable third ways ,but accepts neither guilt nor easyand demagogic formulae. Finally, this soft-winner , contrary to his bourgeoispredecessor (including its', The Transformation of Work,Volume 10 (Research intheSociologyof Work)JAI Press; 1 edition(March 28,2001) '6 Hedonizing Technologies: Paths to Pleasure inHobbies and Leisure (Gender Relationsin the Americ) Rachel p. MainesThe Johns Hopkins university Press; 1 edition (June 9, 2009)',Feminism:The Essential Historical Writings, Miriam Schneir ,Vintage (June 28' 1994) ,, Leisure Migration: A Sociological Studyon Tourism, J. Bôrôcz' Pergamon; 1st edition (December 6,1996) 'n Perspectiveson Ecology: A critical Essay, KoulaMellos, Palgrave Macmillan (December 1988) ,o The Minding Nature: Philosophers of Ecology, David Macauley The Guilford Press; I edition(March29, 1996) 1.1, nov- 2008 - C\JP - Draft M3
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