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From God to markets


  • Mehrpouya, Afshin



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.

Suggested Citation

  • Mehrpouya, Afshin, 2013. "From God to markets," Les Cahiers de Recherche 962, HEC Paris.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebg:heccah:0962

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mongin, Philippe, 1992. "L'optimisation est-elle un critère de rationalité individuelle ?," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1993001, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    2. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
    3. Philippe Mongin, 2002. "Le principe de rationalité et l'unité des sciences sociales," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 53(2), pages 301-323.
    4. Philippe Mongin, 1984. "Modèle rationnel ou modèle économique de la rationalité ?," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 35(1), pages 9-64.
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    More about this item


    meaning work; boundary; institutions; social movements; framing; socially responsible investment;

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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