The "Network Ethic" and the New Spirit of Capitalism in French Sociology of Capitalism

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearch


    The network concept has increasingly been applied in the understanding of economic and social changes of recent societies and of its parts, such as social relations in general and business enterprises. Much of this work has focused on structural aspects of networks while cultural aspects of network forms of organisation have received less attention. In this paper I discuss a recent French contribution to the analysis of the cultural aspects of networks: Boltanski & Chiapello’s book Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme (Boltanski and Chiapello 1999). The contribution is important for recent discussions of a network perspective on organisations in several ways. First, drawing on Weber’s earlier discussion of the rise of the capitalist spirit, Boltanski and Chiapello proposes an interesting theoretical model of the change of capitalism relating two different types of cultural elements: the ‘spirit of capitalism’ and criticism of capitalism to processes of change in the form of capitalism. Second, Boltanski and Chiapello directs a critical perspective on the emergent model of ‘network capitalism’ and its accompanying spirit applying the theoretical framework of ‘worlds of justification’ developed earlier in the context of the French convention tradition.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNetworks, Trust and Social Capital : Theoretical and Empirical Investigations from Europe
    EditorsSokratis M. Korniordos
    Place of PublicationAldershot
    Publication date2005
    ISBN (Print)0 7546 3636 4
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • sociology of capitalism
    • spirit of capitalism
    • project organization
    • work ethic

    Cite this

    Jagd, S. (2005). The "Network Ethic" and the New Spirit of Capitalism in French Sociology of Capitalism. In S. M. Korniordos (Ed.), Networks, Trust and Social Capital: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations from Europe (pp. 47-69). Ashgate.