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The Emergence and Decline of a Rite: Speeches Given at the Award of Work Medals in the French Iron Industry from the 1930s to the 1970s

Abstract : This study examines the history of a specific French rite: the bestowing of work medals in the French iron and steel industry. The paper compares two stages in the development and decline of this rite: first, the golden age of the award ceremonies in the 1930s and 1940s; second, the disappearance of the ceremonies in the 1960s and 1970s. The paper is based on the study of 52 speeches given in these ceremonies at two French companies (de Wendel and Schneider). We try to understand how and why these ceremonies – which also provided occasions for the disclosure of company financial information – thrived and subsequently declined. We identify a paradox: when the financial information given in the speeches was vague in the 1930s and 1940s, the rite flourished. When information became much more precise in the 1960s and 1970s, the rite declined and disappeared. We examine this paradox using the notion of rite as defined by Pierre Bourdieu and show how a speech is embedded in the etiquette that supports the rite. The analysis of these two dimensions (speech and etiquette) allows us to understand why limited financial disclosure could be effective and, conversely, why detailed disclosure could subvert the efficacy of the rite. The coherence between speech and etiquette is the central element to understanding this apparent paradox.
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https://hal.univ-lorraine.fr/hal-01371854
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Submitted on : Monday, September 26, 2016 - 3:10:06 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 4:27:59 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-01371854, version 1

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Mathieu Floquet, Pierre Labardin. The Emergence and Decline of a Rite: Speeches Given at the Award of Work Medals in the French Iron Industry from the 1930s to the 1970s. Business and Economic History On-Line, Business History Conference, 2015, 13. ⟨hal-01371854⟩

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