15th Oct 2013 6:30pm
The Old Courtroom
The Old Courtroom, 118 Church Street, Brighton, BN1 1UD
Meritocracy, in contemporary parlance, refers to the idea that whatever our social position at birth, society ought to facilitate the means for ‘talent’ to ‘rise to the top’. In this paper, I argue that the ideology of ‘meritocracy’ has become a key means through which plutocracy (or governance by an elite) is endorsed by stealth within contemporary neoliberal culture. The paper works to unpack the term ‘meritocracy’ both by considering its contorted genealogy and by analysing its currency in political culture and the creative industries.
Dr Jo Littler is Senior Lecturer in Cultural Industries at City University London and is currently writing a book titled Against Meritocracy. She is author of Radical Consumption? Shopping for Change in Contemporary Culture (2009), co-editor with Roshi Naidoo of The Politics of Heritage (2005) and has edited a number of journal issues on celebrity and consumption. She is on the editorial/advisory boards of Soundings, Cultural Studies, Celebrity Studies and Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies.