IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

London’s legal elite: recruitment through cultural capital and the reproduction of social exclusivity in City professional service fields

Listed author(s):
  • Andrew C G Cook
  • James R Faulconbridge
  • Daniel Muzio
Registered author(s):

    The authors examine the ways in which recruitment and selection processes facilitate the reproduction of elites and elite cultures within City law firms. The research is based upon original research carried out during 2009, consisting of in-depth semistructured interviews, semiotic and content analyses of recruitment materials and websites, and the analysis of publicly available data demonstrating the educational backgrounds of lawyers practising in the City. By deploying Bourdieusian concepts including the field, ‘doxa’, cultural capital, and habitus, the authors show that, in the firms studied, homologous elite cultures and social groups are maintained and legitimated as part of attempts to reproduce ‘normalised’ expectations about the identity and practice of a City professional. Maintenance is ensured by assessing the objectified, institutionalised, and embodied cultural capital of applicants in recruitment and selection processes, with only those possessing certain types of capital being recruited. This selection by cultural capital limits social mobility in City professions, which are dominated by the upper-middle classes, and helps explain why, in the face of critique and in the context of programmes designed to widen social diversity, the City legal profession remains socially exclusive. Keywords: cultural capital, professional service firms, law, City of London, elites, recruitment and selection processes

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: abstract
    Download Restriction: Fulltext access restricted to subscribers, see for details

    File URL:
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: Fulltext access restricted to subscribers, see for details

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Pion Ltd, London in its journal Environment and Planning A.

    Volume (Year): 44 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 7 (July)
    Pages: 1744-1762

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:44:y:2012:i:7:p:1744-1762
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:44:y:2012:i:7:p:1744-1762. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Neil Hammond)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.