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“A Special Camaraderie with Colleagues”

“A Special Camaraderie with Colleagues”

Presuming and Producing Solidarity

(p.138) Chapter Five “A Special Camaraderie with Colleagues”
Solidarity in Strategy
Lyn Spillman
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the standard neoinstitutionalist account, arguing that it borders on circularity if it relies on the putative prior existence of shared interests and it underestimates the degree to which associations treat solidarity as an end in itself. Building on neglected theories of occupational community, this chapter shows that a surprisingly widespread theme in business associations' activity and discourse expresses collective identities, normative and status orders, and camaraderie that would make little sense strictly considered as strategic economic action. An important part of what American business associations do is produce solidarity in collective identity. The chapter offers a new and counterintuitive view of American business associations and the cultural embeddedness of capitalist economic action. The picture of the solidarity in business challenges several fundamental assumptions about capitalist economic action. It challenges the broad assumption that all there is to business is strategic, self-interested action.

Keywords:   occupational community, shared interest, solidarity, neoinstitutionalism, self-interested action, economic action, business associations

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