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Title: Global elites and local people : images of Germanness and cosmopolitanism in the self-presentation of German transnational business people in London
Author: Moore, Fiona
ISNI:       0000 0000 6157 9950
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2002
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Although many anthropologists have studied transnational groups, few consider the way in which social organisation takes place in globalising environments. An examination of the use of symbols of Germanness and cosmopolitanism in the selfpresentation of German businesspeople in London suggests that, in doing so, they are not defining themselves as a solidary group so much as they are engaging in complex negotiations between global and local social entities. Combining Anthony Cohen's theory of the symbolic construction of groups (1985) with Erving Goffman's of strategic self-presentation (1956), I begin by examining Sklair' s (2001) hypothesis that transnational businesspeople form a detached, globalised, solidary "transnational capitalist class." I then consider the ways in which symbols are actually used in transnational business, through a case study focusing around the London branches of two German banks, the Head Office of one of them, and German-focused institutions in the UK. My analysis reveals that not only is transnational businesspeople' s use of symbols more complex than the construction of a single social group, they also use the multivalency of symbols to shift their selfpresentations and affiliations in response to the activities of other actors. I conclude by postulating a new way of looking at transnational social formations, incorporating Sklair's theory, Castells' "Network Society" ( 1996) and Appadurai's "Global Landscapes": the Transnational Capitalist Society model (TCS). This is a theoretical construct comprising all actors engaging in business activity across borders at any given time; it also includes the links between transnational social formations, and local entities inasmuch as they engage in transnational capitalism. An examination of the symbolic self-presentation of German transnational businesspeople thus suggests that, not only are they not a solidary, detached "class," but the complex, shifting nature of their interactions points to the need for a more diffuse, multiply engaged model for considering transnational social formations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Transnational capitalist class