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Elite business networks and the field of power: A matter of class?

Maclean, Mairi and Harvey, Charles and Kling, Gerhard (2017) 'Elite business networks and the field of power: A matter of class?' Theory Culture and Society, 34 (5-6). pp. 127-151.

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Abstract

We explore the meaning and implications of Bourdieu’s construct of the field of power and integrate it into a wider conception of the formation and functioning of elites at the highest level in society. Corporate leaders active within the field of power hold prominent roles in numerous organizations, constituting an ‘elite of elites’, whose networks integrate powerful participants from different fields. As ‘bridging actors’, they form coalitions to determine institutional settlements and societal resource flows. We ask how some corporate actors (minority) become hyper-agents, those actors who ‘make things happen’, while others (majority) remain ‘ordinary’ members of the elite. Three hypotheses are developed and tested using extensive data on the French business elite. Social class emerges as persistently important, challenging the myth of meritocratic inclusion. Our primary contribution to Bourdieusian scholarship lies in our analysis of hyper-agents, revealing the debts these dominants owe to elite schools and privileged classes.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Accepted version of a forthcoming article to be published by Sage.
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Finance & Management
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Finance and Management
ISSN: 14603616
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1177/0263276417715071
Depositing User: Gerhard Kling
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2016 16:23
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/23092

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