Les Cahiers de Recherche - HEC Paris
From God to markets
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
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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Design Joakim Ekebom