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Holmqvist, M. (2023). Consecration and meritocracy in elite business schools: The case of a Swedish student union. British Journal of Sociology, 74(4), 531-546
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Consecration and meritocracy in elite business schools: The case of a Swedish student union
2023 (English)In: British Journal of Sociology, ISSN 0007-1315, E-ISSN 1468-4446, Vol. 74, no 4, p. 531-546Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sociologists theare paying increasing attention to the business and financial elites that control today's global economy; indeed, there's a great need to understand who these elites are, what they do, and what makes m tick, as individuals, and as a class. But we also need to understand how the economic elites aremade in the current social and economic system, and one significant way of doing this, is by examining elite business schools, that is, the institutions that aim to train and prepare people to assume important leadership and decision-making positions in business, finance and related sectors of critical importance to the management of modern capitalism. Based on the notion of consecration, I empirically examine how the student union of Sweden's premier business school, The Stockholm School of Economics, offers its members a learning environment partly separated from the school, and how this semi-independent organization contributes to making undergraduate students socially, morally and esthetically meritorious for elite jobs in primarily management consulting and finance; a process that is largely shaped by corporate actors that participate formally and informally in the student union activities. The paper contributes to the sociological literature on business schools and higher education and elites, both theoretically through the twin notions of meritocracy and consecration, and empirically through its unique focus on student union activities in an elite business school setting. 

Keywords
business schools, consecration, elites, meritocracy, reproduction
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-217310 (URN)10.1111/1468-4446.13026 (DOI)000985993700001 ()37169584 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85159065340 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-05-24 Created: 2023-05-24 Last updated: 2023-10-06Bibliographically approved
Holmqvist, M. (2023). Corporations' Invisible Hand in Higher Education: Teaching at Business Schools and the Making of Employable Students.. In: Mats Benner; Mikael Holmqvist (Ed.), Universities Under Neoliberalism: Ideologies, Discourses, and Management Practices (pp. 49-67). Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Corporations' Invisible Hand in Higher Education: Teaching at Business Schools and the Making of Employable Students.
2023 (Swedish)In: Universities Under Neoliberalism: Ideologies, Discourses, and Management Practices / [ed] Mats Benner; Mikael Holmqvist, Routledge, 2023, p. 49-67Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A critical notion in contemporary neoliberal society is “employability”, i.e., the set of skills, competencies and abilities that make an individual able to compete successfully on national and international labour markets. As is well-known, one of the most important instruments for creating employable persons is higher education, i.e. education offered by universities and similar academic institutions. Universities have for long time been expected to be “relevant” by making students well adapted to societal demands and requirements; in other words, producing “employable students” has always been a critical mission, not only in the narrow, vocational sense but also in the behavioural and aesthetic meaning of the word. As a testimony to this, modern universities have gradually embraced a corporate model for managing its operations, for instance, by implementing “performance management” indicators for evaluating faculty, and by offering students courses that stress the development of social rather than intellectual abilities that are said to be critical for their employability. The corporate ethos that has come to define society more and more has also come to colonize the university world. The market-liberal development of universities can most vividly be seen in the exceptional growth of management education offered by universities or independent business schools, where tomorrow's corporate elites are being educated and trained. In many ways, business schools have come to dominate higher education, not only in terms of the number of students being graduated but also ideologically: business schools seem to offer a version of higher education that is relevant for today's demands and can in this respect be seen as “model institutions”. As a result, the ways business students are constructed and socialized therefore constitute an interesting area of examination. In this chapter, the author critically examines how students at Sweden's premier business school, the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE), are made employable for elite jobs in Swedish and international industry. The SSE is Sweden's only private university and is sometimes described as a model institution for how all higher education should be conducted in the country. Relative to other universities in Sweden, the SSE is a “free” institution, without any strong formal bonds to the state, which is said to promote an ability to swiftly adapt to circumstances and offer their students a “timely” education, resulting in a high degree of competitiveness. Indeed, the SSE has close connections to the corporate world that offers the institution guidance in how to promote student employability, and can boost excellent records in making their students attractive to elite employers, even in the public sector.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-220822 (URN)10.4324/9781003246367-4 (DOI)9781032159294 (ISBN)9781003246367 (ISBN)
Available from: 2023-09-12 Created: 2023-09-12 Last updated: 2023-09-18Bibliographically approved
Holmqvist, M. & Wiesel, I. (2023). Elite Communities and Polarization in Neoliberal Society: Consecration in Australia's and Sweden's Wealthy Neighbourhoods. Critical Sociology, 49(4-5), 767-782
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Elite Communities and Polarization in Neoliberal Society: Consecration in Australia's and Sweden's Wealthy Neighbourhoods
2023 (English)In: Critical Sociology, ISSN 0896-9205, E-ISSN 1569-1632, Vol. 49, no 4-5, p. 767-782Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

'Elite communities' are the areas where the wealthy, and even 'superrich', live, socialize and raise their children as future economic and financial elites; they are the places where a few lead socially and economically privileged lives. Earlier studies have concentrated on the inner dynamics of these settings, focusing on the way residents are constructed and socialized as elites through their social, communicative and aesthetic abilities that are perceived as exemplary in contemporary neoliberal society. In this paper, we broaden the perspective, by exploring how these areas contribute to polarization, that is, how they generate distinctions based on money, morals and manners that are peculiar to neoliberalism's idealization of 'entrepreneurship', 'self-management', 'leadership' and the pursuit of an 'active lifestyle'. Our data come from two major ethnographic studies: one conducted between 2010 and 2015 of Sweden's wealthiest community, Djursholm, that is populated by the country's business and financial elites; the other conducted between 2016 and 2019 of three of Australia's most prestigious and economically privileged suburbs, Toorak (Melbourne), Mosman (Sydney) and Cottesloe (Perth).

Keywords
elites, neoliberalism, polarization, consecration, cultural capital
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-208212 (URN)10.1177/08969205221108656 (DOI)000821650400001 ()2-s2.0-85133888178 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-08-26 Created: 2022-08-26 Last updated: 2023-06-09Bibliographically approved
Holmqvist, M. (2023). Kungen: Sveriges ledare. Natur och kultur
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Kungen: Sveriges ledare
2023 (Swedish)Book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Natur och kultur, 2023. p. 658
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-220809 (URN)9789127168770 (ISBN)
Available from: 2023-09-12 Created: 2023-09-12 Last updated: 2023-09-18Bibliographically approved
Benner, M. & Holmqvist, M. (2023). Universities under neoliberalism – market inspired reforms of Swedish higher education. Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, 9(1), 72-73
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Universities under neoliberalism – market inspired reforms of Swedish higher education
2023 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, ISSN 2002-0317, Vol. 9, no 1, p. 72-73Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Keywords
Universities, ideology, management
National Category
Economics and Business Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-220816 (URN)10.1080/20020317.2023.2185368 (DOI)
Available from: 2023-09-12 Created: 2023-09-12 Last updated: 2023-09-19Bibliographically approved
Benner, M. & Holmqvist, M. (Eds.). (2023). Universities Under Neoliberalism: Ideologies, Discourses and Management Practices. Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Universities Under Neoliberalism: Ideologies, Discourses and Management Practices
2023 (English)Collection (editor) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The COVID-19 pandemic, the surge of populism, the climate crisis and many other destabilizing factors in our time, all point at the expectation of trustworthy knowledge and reliable organization devoted to knowledge production and dissemination. However, universities remain enmeshed in economic liberalization and ensuing cultural struggles where their funding, governance and practices reflect market imprints – even academic ideals such as originality, or social ideals such as relevance have been transformed into measurable units and thereby risk losing their historical sway. This predicament is the focus of this book.

The book explores the rise of neo-liberalization in academic system in a highly unlikely place: Sweden, a country with a strong social democratic tradition and a long history of state regulation of higher education. As an advanced welfare state with a powerful labour movement and a large public sector, market ideals and practices have been carefully curtailed historically. This notwithstanding, a neoliberal university model has evolved there, reshaping notions of academic identities, institutional directions and notions of quality. This edited collection will be of value to researchers, academics and students with an interest in organizational studies, governance, management, higher education, sociology and politics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023. p. 138
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-220820 (URN)9781032159294 (ISBN)9781003246367 (ISBN)
Available from: 2023-09-12 Created: 2023-09-12 Last updated: 2023-09-18Bibliographically approved
Holmqvist, M. (2023). Un-learning to labour. Activating the unemployed in a former industrial community. Arkiv förlag, 2023: Jon Sunnerfjell [Review]. Sociologisk forskning, 60(1), 110-112
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Un-learning to labour. Activating the unemployed in a former industrial community. Arkiv förlag, 2023: Jon Sunnerfjell
2023 (Swedish)In: Sociologisk forskning, ISSN 0038-0342, E-ISSN 2002-066X, Vol. 60, no 1, p. 110-112Article, book review (Other academic) Published
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-220826 (URN)
Available from: 2023-09-12 Created: 2023-09-12 Last updated: 2023-09-19Bibliographically approved
Holmqvist, M. (2022). Consecrating and Desecrating Elite Communities: Fearing and Dealing with Social Deviance in Sweden's Wealthiest Neighborhood. Cultural Sociology, 16(3), 358-378
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Consecrating and Desecrating Elite Communities: Fearing and Dealing with Social Deviance in Sweden's Wealthiest Neighborhood
2022 (English)In: Cultural Sociology, ISSN 1749-9755, E-ISSN 1749-9763, Vol. 16, no 3, p. 358-378Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article I report observations from an ethnographic study of a Swedish economic elite community, including interviews with residents and service staff, and participant observations in various social contexts stretching over a period of five years that can contribute to an understanding of how elite communities respond to potential social deviance among its members, such as feelings of insufficiency and stress, thus trying to avoid any 'desecration' of their social and cultural capital. Specifically, I examine how the practices through which desecration is avoided, for example the exclusion of unwanted members, interplay in the further consecration of the communities, thus maintaining and strengthening elites' status and standing, Studying the problems and difficulties experienced by elites in their neighborhood settings, and how they try to manage them, is potentially an important step forward to better analyze and understand the way powerful groups in contemporary society maintain and strengthen their privileges and power.

Keywords
consecration, cultural capital, desecration, elites, power
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-200388 (URN)10.1177/17499755211053172 (DOI)000724780900001 ()2-s2.0-85120337496 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-01-04 Created: 2022-01-04 Last updated: 2022-10-05Bibliographically approved
Holmqvist, M. (2022). Economics as symbolic capital: The consecration of elite business schools. Theory and society, 51(3), 435-455
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Economics as symbolic capital: The consecration of elite business schools
2022 (English)In: Theory and society, ISSN 0304-2421, E-ISSN 1573-7853, Vol. 51, no 3, p. 435-455Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ever since the first elite business schools were founded in Europe and the United States during the late 1800s and early 1900s, they have enjoyed an intimate relationship with economics. Despite some notable analyses of economics' importance for the successful institutionalization of business schools, an understanding of the relation between economics and elite business schools requires further development. As such, this paper focuses on 'economics as symbolic capital' for the consecration of business schools as elite settings, with particular emphasis on the symbolic aspects of economics' cultural and social capital. Consecration can be seen as critical to the institutionalization of elite business schools; in contrast to the primary focus of previous studies on the material significance of economics in business schools, my chief concern is the discipline's symbolic power and importance for business schools' status as elite institutions in many countries today. Data from a study on Sweden's elite business school, The Stockholm School of Economics (SSE), were based on both historical and contemporary sources, including archival material, biographies, statistics, participant observations, and interviews with faculty and students. The SSE is one of the world's oldest elite business schools where economics has played a critical role ever since its establishment; the SSE's economics faculty has a unique relation to the ultimate source of capital for contemporary global economics, namely, The Nobel Prize in Economics, which exerts a significant influence on the discipline's general standing and status today.

Keywords
Consecration, Economics, Elite business school, Symbolic capital
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-197149 (URN)10.1007/s11186-021-09455-z (DOI)000674214100001 ()2-s2.0-85110592331 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-09-27 Created: 2021-09-27 Last updated: 2022-08-16Bibliographically approved
Holmqvist, M. (2022). Elite Business Schools: Education and Consecration in Neo-liberal Society. Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Elite Business Schools: Education and Consecration in Neo-liberal Society
2022 (English)Book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Social scientists are paying increasing attention to the business and financial elites: There’s a great need to understand who these elites are, what they do, and what makes them tick, as individuals but also as a class. By examining elite business schools, the institutions that train and prepare people to assume important leadership and decision-making positions in business, finance and related sectors, we may also learn how the economic elites are made. A key argument in this book is that elite schools are known to create powerful groups in society, offering them the intellectual and analytical means to act as leaders, but, most importantly, the social, moral and aesthetic skills that are deemed necessary to exercise power; in all essential respects elite schools consecrate people. By dominating much of higher education today, and by doing so in a way that creates and reproduces a market-based organization and control of society, elite business schools represent certain interests and ideologies that affect the lives of most people. In understanding how the modern economy is run, elite business schools, therefore, represent critical study objects.

This book, based on an in-depth study of the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE), offers a sociological analysis of the world of elite business schools. Specifically, this book examines the consecration of SSE’s students from a number of perspectives and in a number of situations, focusing on student union activities, school culture, faculty behavior, teaching, courses and alumni events, noting the symbolic importance of economics and particularly the school’s unique relation among the world’s business schools to the Nobel Prize.

The book addresses the topics with regards to the sociology of elites, management education and organizational studies and will be of interest to researchers, academics, and students also interested in business history, higher education studies, and sociology of education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2022. p. 197
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-220812 (URN)10.4324/9781003218128 (DOI)9781032110332 (ISBN)9781003218128 (ISBN)
Available from: 2023-09-12 Created: 2023-09-12 Last updated: 2024-01-30Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-4725-8757

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