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Elites, ownership and the internationalisation of French business

Maclean, M. and Harvey, C. and Press, J. (2001) Elites, ownership and the internationalisation of French business. Modern and Contemporary France, 9 (3). p. 313. ISSN 0963-9489

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This article is based on a prosopographical study of comparative business elites in France and Britain, drawing on the work of social theorists Pierre Bourdieu and Ezra Suleiman. The evidence suggests that cross shareholdings, at the heart of French capitalism since the 1960s, have begun to unravel, under pressure from globalisation. Yet the cultural substrata that underlie French busine ss practice s are pow erful. M ore likely than the complete undoing of cross-shareholdings is the adaptation of the national system to suit international structures. The authors argue, at least provisionally, that French shareholdings are being ceded for a stake in a wider international game, in an attempt to enable French management elites to maintain hegemonic control of leading domestic and European enterprises, in this way pre-emptively and proactively engaging with the structural logic of globalisation.