Bourdieusian capital conversion during crises of socio-political legitimacy: Sponsorship of the arts by Barclays Bank, 1972 to 1987

Ian G. Jones, Nicholas D. Wong, Marta Herrero, Andrew Smith

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Abstract

This paper advances our understanding of how organisations engage in the process of Bourdieusian capital conversion during crises of socio-political legitimacy. We do so by analysing the arts sponsorship strategies of Barclays between 1972 and 1987. During this period, Barclays faced numerous challenges to its organisational legitimacy as a result of its continued dealings in apartheid South Africa and its ability to generate extraordinary profits despite general economic malaise in Britain. As a response, Barclays increased its sponsorship of the arts, exchanging its substantial economic capital for the symbolic capital associated with high-status arts institutions. We identify the forces that facilitated and inhibited these capital exchanges and how they affected Barclays’ sponsorship strategies. This paper will be of interest to Bourdieusian scholars interested in capital exchange, to business historians interested in banking in Britain during the 1970s and 1980s, and researchers interested in the evolution of corporate sponsorship and philanthropy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
JournalBusiness History
Early online date18 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Dec 2022

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