New structuralism and field emergence: The co-constitution of meanings and actors in the early moments of social impact investing

Timothy R. Hannigan, Guillermo Casasnovas

Producció científica: Article en revista indexadaArticleAvaluat per experts

10 Cites (Scopus)

Resum

Field emergence poses an intriguing problem for institutional theorists. New issue fields often arise at the intersection of different sectors, amidst extant structures of meanings and actors. Such nascent fields are fragmented and lack clear guides for action; making it unclear how they ever coalesce. The authors propose that provisional social structures provide actors with macrosocial presuppositions that shape ongoing field-configuration; bootstrapping the field. The authors explore this empirically in the context of social impact investing in the UK, 2000−2013, a period in which this field moved from clear fragmentation to relative alignment. The authors combine different computational text analysis methods, and data from an extensive field-level study, to uncover meaningful patterns of interaction and structuration. Our results show that across various periods, different types of actors were linked together in discourse through “actor–meaning couplets.” These emergent couplings of actors and meanings provided actors with social cues, or macrofoundations, which guided their local activities. The authors, thus, theorize a recursive, co-constitutive process: as punctuated moments of interaction generate provisional structures of actor–meaning couplets, which then cue actors as they navigate and constitute the emerging field. Our model re-energizes the core tenets of new structuralism and contributes to current debates about institutional emergence and change.

Idioma originalAnglès
Pàgines (de-a)147-183
Nombre de pàgines37
RevistaResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
DOIs
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 2020
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