Historical Social Research

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Théo Bourgeron: Constructing the Double Circulation of Capital and “Social Impact.” An Ethnographic Study of a French Impact Investment Fund. [Abstract]

Elaborating on a three-month ethnography of an impact investing fund called Impact Equity, this article aims to understand the mechanisms at work in the emergence of the impact investing sector. After presenting the case of Impact Equity (section 1), the article details the norms and devices through which impact investing is constructed in everyday financial work (sections 2 and 3) and investigates how impact investors mobilise moral beliefs and strategic motivations to navigate competing definitions of “social impact” (section 4). In doing so, this article outlines how the construction of the sector has involved the creation of channels enabling capital and “social impact” to circulate between institutional investors, impact investment funds, and “impactful businesses,” and it highlights the historical tensions that this process has involved.

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