The 2011 C. Wright Mills Committee selected Shamus Rahman Khan's book Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite as the 2011 winner. Karyn Lacy, chair of the 2011 C. Wright Mills Award Committee, said of Khan's work: 

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Privilege is an elegant analysis of elite socialization practices at Khan’s own northeastern prep school. Shamus Khan spent a year engaged in intensive ethnographic observation at his alma mater, and, while we might not realize at first blush that prep school interactions is an issue of “contemporary public importance,” Khan finds that things have changed dramatically since he was there: being elite is not what it used to be. Getting ahead now means students must be at ease wielding a new form of privilege, one that is derived not from family name or previously acquired cultural capital, but from a willingness to work hard to fit in—to a more economically and racially diverse St. Paul’s and, ultimately, the larger society.

In addition to meeting the criteria established by SSSP for the award, Privilege tackles an issue that really is at the heart of what C Wright Mills cared so deeply about: understanding how the elite secure and maintain their power and what that means for the rest of us. 

Congratulations, Dr. Khan!

The 2011 award was presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting in Denver, CO, at the annual Awards Banquet on Friday, August 17, 2012. Click here for a full listing of the 2011 finalists.

Click here for a list of past winners of the C. Wright Mills Award.