Between Meritocracy and the Old Boy Network: Elite Education in Contemporary American Literature

Sophie Spieler


This article focuses on the discourse of elite education in the United States. I argue that the discourse generates two dominant topoi—merit and network—in order to make sense of elite education and its socio-political implications. Examining Tom Wolfe's I am Charlotte Simmons (2004) and Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep (2005) against the backdrop of different positions within the discursive framework, I read literary texts as counter-discourses that provide spaces of subversion and resistance to dominant meanings.


Elites; Education; Upper Class; Meritocracy; Network

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