CeMoRe Centre for Mobilities Research Lancaster University
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CeMoRe Workshop - The Mobilities of the Super Rich

Date: 21 September 2010 Time: 10.30am to 6.00pm

Venue: Institute for Advanced Studies Meeting Room 2/3

Diamond Encrusted Model Car
Diamond Encrusted Model Car

The Mobilities of the Super-rich: A Workshop at Lancaster University

21 September 2010, 10.30am-6.00pm in Institute for Advanced Studies Meeting Room 2/3 (no.17 on campus map)

Organized by the Centre for Mobilities Research, Cosmobilities Network and the Faculty of Arts and Social Science

Speakers include:

Anthony Elliott (Flinders): 'Elsewhere: Toward a sociology of Globals'

Jon Beaverstock (Nottingham) and James Faulconbridge (Lancaster): 'Travelling Elites: motivations, methods and costs'

Thomas Birtchnell (Lancaster): 'The Bangalore Pyramid: India's Globals and the monuments to their success'

Lucy Budd (Loughborough): 'Aeromobile Elites: the role of private business aviation in a global economy'

John Urry (Lancaster): Conclusions as The Future of 'Carbon Capitalism'

Small in number but great in influence, the super-rich shape the contours of global capitalism. Occupying the top tier of the so-called human pyramid their activities are scrutinized, emulated, and benchmarked in the production of urban and leisure landscapes; the power-knowledge venues that underpin and demonstrate their success. The super-rich are instrumental in the socialization of desire for unattainable and unsustainable standards of consumption styled as luxury, privilege, prestige, and 'class'. These associations form a brand vocabulary that the global elite aspire to and promote through an embarrassment of riches that manifest in venues like Dubai, perhaps the wildest materialization of an age of excess. The extravagant lifestyles of the super-rich modulate between these nodes of power and free-floating, unhindered mobility.

Today the super-rich continue to flourish but in a changing scenario. The current economic crisis and rising concerns about the moral legitimacy of economic elites coincides with stern warnings over the civilizational risks posed by global warming and the imminent depletion of oil acknowledged by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency respectively. Against a turbulent horizon of climate related catastrophes, expectations of global equality raise seemingly irresoluble dilemmas that question further the moral legitimacy of the super-rich.

Are recent debates about the need of a new economic and moral order a passing trend or do they signify the beginning of a vigorous contestation of the lifestyles of the super-rich? If so, what are the implications for global mobilities? What are the impacts of a growing class of super-rich from the developing world? What are the future scenarios of mobility regimes based on intensive use of natural resources? What conceptual and methodological tools might be most appropriate to identify path dependencies and critical turning points in high-carbon mobility regimes?

The workshop will discuss the methodological and conceptual challenges of researching the mobilities of global elites at a time of economic crisis, growing scarcity of resources, and emergent economic and political powers.

Information for participants

The workshop will take place in Institute for Advanced Studies Meeting Room 2/3 at Lancaster University (number 17 on map) from 10.30am until 6pm. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

Registration fee is £30 pounds for staff/waged and £10.00 for student/unwaged,to cover refreshments throughout the day.

For online registration click here.


Cancellations received before7 September 2010 will be issued a full refund minus an administration charge of £5. Cancellation requests received on and after 7 September will be at the discretion of the organisers and will be subject to a minimum administration charge of £5.


Where To Stay in Lancaster- or our campus guestrooms. Most of our guestrooms are en-suite. As well as private WC/bathing facilities, each has access to a fully equipped kitchen, shared with up to three other residents. The nightly rate is £26.40 (single) excl. VAT. Please email conferenceoffice@lancaster.ac.uk or phone 01524 592444 to book.

If required, a range of overnight accommodation is available at own cost on campus and in Lancaster.

For queries regarding registration please contact Pennie Drinkall p.drinkall@lancaster.ac.uk

For queries regarding the event please contact Javier Caletrío - j.caletrio@lancaster.ac.uk

Organisers: John Urry, Thomas Birtchnell, Javier Caletrío.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Thomas Birtchnell, Javier Caletrío, Pennie Drinkall, James Faulconbridge, David Tyfield, John Urry

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe), Geography, Lancaster Environment Centre, Material Culture and Consumption Group, Mobilities.Lab, Sociology

Keywords: Consumerism, Consumption, Material culture, Materiality, Mobilities, Post-car, Tourism, Travel


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