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No 962:
From God to markets

Afshin Mehrpouya ()

Abstract: Actors at the boundary of two or more fields undertake work to stabilize, coordinate across or breach the field’s boundary. Meaning work is a key category of boundary work, which involves aintaining or changing of field-level meanings. Mobilizing institutional analysis of field level change processes and the social movement framing literature, this study conceptualizes the types of meaning work that boundary actors undertake in a field undergoing “mainstreaming”. Mainstreaming in this paper is defined as a process whereby a social movement succeeds in diffusing its norms, values or practices across the wider incumbent field. During the past few decades, socially responsible investment (SRI) has shifted from being a marginal, religious, US-based movement to an influential international movement, which has succeeded in mobilizing a large number of incumbent investors and financial organizations. Based on a multi-stage qualitative analysis of the SRI field during the past 50 years, this study first establishes the structural changes that define a field undergoing mainstreaming. It then introduces four propositions regarding links between these field-level changes and the meaning work that actors at the boundary between a social movement and the incumbent field undertake.

Keywords: meaning work; boundary; institutions; social movements; framing; socially responsible investment; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: A14; Z13; (follow links to similar papers)

65 pages, January 1, 2013

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