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

Cook, Andy and Faulconbridge, James and Muzio, Daniel (2012) London’s Legal Elite:recruitment through cultural capital and the reproduction of social exclusivity in City professional service fields. Environment and Planning A: Environment and Planning, 44 (7). pp. 1744-1762.

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Abstract

This paper examines 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 semi-structured 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 paper shows 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 programs designed to widen social diversity, the City legal profession remains socially exclusive.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Environment and Planning A: Environment and Planning
Additional Information: Cook, Faulconbridge, Muzio, 2012. The definitive, peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Environment and PLanning A, 44 (7), 1744-1762, 2012 10.1068/a43605
Uncontrolled Keywords: cultural capital ; professional service firms ; law ; City of London ; elites ; recruitment and selection processes
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Departments: Lancaster University Management School > Organisation, Work & Technology
Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 59894
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 08 Nov 2012 09:24
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2013 15:18
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/59894

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