From God to Markets. An Analysis of the Meaning Work of Boundary Actors During the 'Mainstreaming' of Socially Responsible Investment

66 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2014

See all articles by Afshin Mehrpouya

Afshin Mehrpouya

HEC Paris - Accounting and Management Control Department

Date Written: October 1, 2014

Abstract

Meaning work is a key category of institutional work, which aims at maintaining 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 actor at the boundary of a social movement and the incumbent field undertake in the process of “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, mostly 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 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: field, social movements, framing, institutions, socially responsible investment, meaning

Suggested Citation

Mehrpouya, Afshin, From God to Markets. An Analysis of the Meaning Work of Boundary Actors During the 'Mainstreaming' of Socially Responsible Investment (October 1, 2014). HEC Paris Research Paper No. ACC-2014-1061. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2510278 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2510278

Afshin Mehrpouya (Contact Author)

HEC Paris - Accounting and Management Control Department ( email )

Jouy-en-Josas Cedex
France

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