Constructing legitimacy: an ethnography of the struggle for financial capital in two Paris-based private equity funds
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date25/11/2020
Bourgeron, Théo Paul
This dissertation uses an original qualitative empirical material (two ethnographic observations of private equity funds and 44 interviews with managers of these funds) to investigate how fund managers construct their legitimacy to manage capital. Focusing on the struggle for capital in the private equity sector, it shows how fund managers use symbols to assert their legitimacy on different stages and details the symbolic hierarchies of the private equity sector: it emphasises how this legitimacy struggle is embodied in the body of fund managers and the geographical organisation of their funds (1); it looks at how fund managers accumulate local symbols, such as diplomas, experiences in prestigious institutions or ‘track-record’ of past operations (2); it underlines how fund managers turn potential investment operations into ‘good investment opportunities’ by accumulating symbols of legitimacy coming from bureaucratic internal and external procedures (such as formal decisions by internal committees or reports by auditors and consultants) (3). In doing so, this dissertation shows the cultural dimension of the channels through which capital circulates in the private equity sector.