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Title: Serving as Leaders: Self-Conception and Status Management in an Elite Community
Authors: Whetung, Timothy (Cliff)
Advisors: Gibson, David
Department: Sociology
Class Year: 2013
Abstract: How does elite self-conception change with social expectations for tact? This thesis proposes that elite populations mask their social status by using rhetoric that communicates altruistic intent. We analyze 112 years’ worth (1900-2012) of valedictory speeches and other primary documents from Princeton University in order to track how students’ self-conception as school and global leaders changes over time. We then perform content analysis on in-depth interviews with12 current Princeton students and 2 employees: one faculty member and one administrator. Results show that students employ a language of “service leadership” to avoid explicit identification with leadership roles and thus avoid stigmatization. Results also show that how and when this language is used has changed with larger social events such as WWII and the equal rights movement of the 1960’s. These results indicate that elite populations adapt their language and actions to those of general society in order to avoid scrutiny of disparities in access to capital.
Extent: 107 pages
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Sociology, 1954-2017

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