Elite groups play a crucial and central role in transformations and preservations of social and political orders. This workshop invites papers exploring the practices and histories of specific elite groups, focusing in particular on elite responses to crisis through "imaginative" acts.
'History', Pareto argued, 'is the graveyard of aristocracies'. In the midst of a series of unprecedented global crises, the old social and political orders appear to be on the retreat, swept aside by the reconfiguration of the world we live in at personal, political and moral level. Or so it seems. Of course Pareto- and later on Gramsci- knew too well that the emergence of a new social order, and more often the preservation of the old, relied on the problematic of double-sidedness, to a contested relation of political consciousness and moral passion between the elites and people that cannot be taken for granted but has to be cultivated deliberately in times of radical change. 'Imaginative acts' are key to the elites strategies for change and/or preservation of the status quo in times of crisis. The convenors of this workshop invite papers that explore the practices and histories of specific elite groups, focusing in particular on elite responses to crisis through "imaginative" acts. How do elite groups respond to crisis? Which "imaginative" acts are elites integral to and what expressions do they take? In what ways do elite groups attempt to understand, reintegrate and create alternatives to crisis? How does an increasing globalisation, changes in forms of communication and means for intellectual activity affect elite groups and crises?