An old boy network
(also known as old boys' network
, old boys' club
, or old boys' society
) can refer to social and business connections among former pupils
of male-only elite schools. The term originated from much of the British upper-class having attended certain public schools
as boys, thus former pupils are "old boys
This can apply to the network between the graduates of a single school regardless of their gender. It is also known as an old boys' society
and is similar to an alumni association
. It can also mean a network of social and business connections among the alumni of various prestigious schools. In popular language, old boy network
or old boys' society
has come to be used in reference to the preservation of social elites in general; such connections within the British Civil Service
formed a primary theme in the British Broadcasting Corporation
's satirical comedy series Yes Minister
. The phrase "It's not what you know, it's who you know" is associated with this tradition.
Mostly in the Southern United States
, the term good ol' boy
has a slightly different meaning—a friendly white man who embodies the stereotype of the folksy culture of the South. A good old boys network
has the connotation of this sort of personality combined with cronyism
This southern term also refers to the personal and friendly relationship between common citizens and local authorities usually resulting in lenient or sometimes no punishments for crimes committed by friends of law enforcement.
In Australia, the term "Old Boy" is used to describe a male alumnus of some prestigious state and private schools. The term "Old Girl" is similarly used for a female alumna of such schools. Both "Old Girl" and "Old Boy" are sometimes used as a reference to someone's parents.
The term is also used in Canada, where the alumni of such schools as St. Andrew's College
, Trinity College School
, Crescent School, St George's School
, Vancouver College
, Stratford Hall
, Bishop's College School
, Hillfield Strathallan College
, Lower Canada College
, and Upper Canada College
are known as Old Boys. Other influential private schools with powerful alumni networks may have become co-ed, such as Appleby College
or University of Toronto Schools
, but operate similarly in which large numbers of alumni all work for the same organization.
, the Finnish term hyvä veli -verkosto
(literally dear brother network
) is used to refer to the alleged informal network of men in high places whose members use their influence to pervert or circumvent official decision-making processes to the members' mutual benefit. As such, the term is pejorative.
The term derives from the salutation "Hyvä veli!", or "Dear brother!", traditionally used to open a letter to a not quite intimate friend. The implication is that since the elites of all fields are drawn from a fairly small pool of people who are mostly more or less acquainted with each other, they can and often do manage public and private affairs amongst themselves, off the record, and outside public scrutiny as they like. As the word "brother" implies, the network is usually presumed to be consisting of males, and thus the term is also sometimes used to refer to the marginalization
of women and their exclusion from high positions in both the public and private spheres. There is an equivalent term, hyvä sisko
("dear sister"), used in reference to informal networks of women in high positions.
President Urho Kekkonen
was notable for directly communicating with senior officials (past his cabinets
) by means of letters, which famously began with the salutation "Hyvä veli". These have been published in three volumes.
The Doon School
maintains its own old boys' society (The Doon School Old Boys' Society) for social connections and fundraising on behalf of the School.
Graduates of The Doon School are known as Doscos
, or simply, Old Boys.
Former students of the Welham Boys School
refer to their society as the Welham Old Boys Society. Though the school was founded in 1937, the society was not founded until 1983. The group is intended to encourage Welham graduates to aid in the school's success through their union; they have established scholarships and bursaries
for deserving students. The Welham Old Boys Network has established definite membership criteria, as well as requiring a subscription fee.
Similarly, the Old Boys of Sainik School Rewa
in Madhya Pradesh call their Old Boys Association as "Sainwinians".
In the United Kingdom, the "old boy network" is seen as existing primarily among those educated at the fee-paying independent schools (public schools
) of the Eton Group
and the Rugby Group
including, but not limited to, Harrow School
, Eton College
, Shrewsbury School
, Stowe School
, Charterhouse School
, Westminster School
, Winchester College
, Radley College
, Wellington College
, and Rugby School
, as well as at the colleges of Oxford
, although to some extent such networks exist for all institutions producing large numbers of "old boys" and girls. The existence of "old boy" networks is often blamed for the high proportion of former pupils of high-status schools and universities in high-status positions in government, business, and other professions. For instance, between them, Harrow
have 26 British prime ministers
among their old boys. In practice, attendance at certain educational institutions is typical of the British "ruling class
" and upper middle class
, and where nepotism
exists it may be driven more often by personal relationships than by educational networks.
An organisation called Future First promotes the use of such networks among those educated at state schools.
In the United States, the "Old Boys Network" is less focused on education. It is the inside track with connections to powerful and ambitious individuals formed through school, work, professional and community service organizations, and private clubs.
The expression old school tie
has essentially the same meaning as the Old Boy network
. This expression derives from the wearing of school ties
by former pupils, to indicate that the wearer is an alumnus
of a particular school or university. This practice is less common now than in former times.
- ^ "The Doon School - Best Boarding School in Dehradun". The Doon School. Archived from the original on 8 March 2009.
- ^ "Welham Old Boys Society". Welhamoldboys.com. Archived from the original on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- ^ "AMU Old Boys Association Delhi - AMU Old Boys Association Delhi". www.amuoldboysassociationdelhi.com.
- ^ Gorman, Andree. "10 of the most exclusive boarding schools for the super-rich are in one country".
- ^ Future First. "Future First". Future First. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- ^ McClain, Linda C. (2019). ""'Male Chauvinism' Is Under Attack From All Sides at Present": Roberts v. United States Jaycees, Sex Discrimination, and the First Amendment". Fordham Law Review. 87: 2402. Retrieved 26 November 2019.(Quoting Brief Amicus Curiae of the National Organization for Women et al. in Support of Reversal, Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees, 468 U.S. 609 (1984) (No. 83-724), 1984 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 226, at p. 19).
Last edited on 23 April 2021, at 01:01
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