Narratives and the financialised firm

Julie Froud, Adam Leaver, Sukhdev Johal, Adriana Nilsson, Karel Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the significance of narratives about large corporations in financialised capitalism, focusing on how firms have recognised the importance of narrative in their relations with providers of capital and financial intermediaries. The article develops the analysis of Financialization and Strategy: Narrative and Numbers (Froud et al. 2006) in several ways. First, we aim to reinforce and develop the original argument that narrative is non-mechanical: the deployment of narrative does not mean that it will have particular results, because outcomes are dependent upon reception. Narratives are not performative in any straightforward sense, though successful narratives require performance. Second, we emphasise that narratives should not be seen as something that is exclusively part of Anglo-American capitalism. The internationalisation of share registers, as well as of debt markets, means that large, publicly-held firms in many countries have explained their financial performance using narrative. Third, we aim to add a new emphasis on conjuncture as the context that shapes not only the narratives themselves but also their reception and durability. These ideas are explored by means of a cultural-political approach that attempts to understand narrative and its limits in different locations, levels or contexts (firms, industries or activities).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-476
Number of pages188
JournalKolner Zeitschrift fur Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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