Capital theory and the dynamics of elite business networks in Britain and France
The paper explores capital theory, examining the typology of forms of capital possessed by elite directors, and drawing in particular on the writings of Pierre Bourdieu. We are particularly interested in questions relating to the reproduction and regeneration of business elites. How do business elites reproduce and regenerate themselves, despite the fact that their membership is constantly changing? What qualifies someone for membership of an elite business group, and how do newcomers gain acceptance? We focus here on some of the ‘newcomers’ who participated in our study of French and British business elites (1998-2003), interviews with whom allow us to interpret the experience of those who have gained admission to elite business groups. We find that culture plays a critical role, imposing discipline and compliance to the rules of the organisational game, as individuals act along pre-ordained lines laid down by ‘habitus’. Our research points overwhelmingly to the power of cultural reproduction among business elites, despite the admission of newcomers to the boards of the leading companies of Britain and France, or of nouveaux riches into ‘old guard’ elite communities.
Post-print version. Final version published by Wiley; available online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/
Vol. 56, Issue s.1, pp. 105 - 120
Place of publication