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Giving something back? Sentiments of privilege and social responsibility among elite graduates from Britain and France

Power, Sally ORCID:, Allouch, Annabelle, Brown, Phillip ORCID: and Tholen, Gerbrand 2016. Giving something back? Sentiments of privilege and social responsibility among elite graduates from Britain and France. International Sociology 31 (3) , pp. 305-323. 10.1177/0268580916629966

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This article explores the complex relationship between transnational elites and civil society through examining the contrasting orientations of two cohorts of ‘elite graduates’ from Paris and Oxford. Both cohorts believe their privileged status has been earned through hard work and ability. But they are also aware that they have benefited from advantages not available to all. Perhaps because of this, they express the need to ‘give something back’. However, the means through which they seek to discharge their social responsibilities are very different. While the Oxford graduates seek to ‘give something back’ through volunteering and third sector engagement, the Paris graduates will ‘give something back’ through public service. The article discusses how the contrasting relationship between the state, civil society and the education system in these two countries may shape dispositions, and speculates on the extent to which these elite recruits’ commitment to ‘give something back’ will make a difference.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 0268-5809
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 23 December 2015
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 01:19

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