Conspicuous normality. Egalitarian ethos and social hierarchies in Silicon Valley

Couverture de la revue Politics, no 140

This article by Olivier Alexandre (CIS-CNRS) was published in the journal Politics, no. 140, Money to rule, De Boeck Supérieur, p. 47-76, doi: 10.3917/pox.140.0047. Abstract in English (Cairn)


In recent years, Silicon Valley has become one of the world’s leading wealth center and powerhouse. Yet ostentatious signs of wealth remain rare. Based on in-depth interviews, observations and data analysis, this article sheds light on this paradox and report three main findings. First, “techies” express an egalitarian ethos within a universe of wealth. Second, Tech companies and investment firms value and promote certain category of professionals. Finally, social gaps and unformal hierarchies described by the respondents put into perspective social boundaries within a society whose members represent themselves as part of a culturally homogeneous community.