The purpose of this paper is to explore how two kinds of UK-based media positioned investment banking as dirty work during the financial crisis, thereby engaging in moral enterprise (Becker, 1963) and contributing to the shaping of society's normative contours (Cohen, 1972).
The authors employ rhetorical analysis to explore how newspaper editorials and an online blog portray investment banking as tainted between April 2008 and October 2009.
These media sources construct the values and behaviours of investment bankers, rather than the tasks of their occupation, as morally tainted. Through specific rhetorical strategies the authors advance three key arguments: bankers are morally tainted because their wealth is excessive; because their wealth is not earned; and because they are selfish and materialist.
In investigating media designations of investment banking as dirty work, the paper addresses two aspects of dirty work which are underexplored. First, it examines a high-prestige occupation and second, investigates the construction and attribution of taint to a previously untainted occupation. It makes two methodological contributions to the literature: contributing to the nascent interest in the media's construction of dirty work (e.g. Grandy and Mavin, 2012); and using rhetorical analysis to study the construction of taint.
Stanley, L., Mackenzie Davey, K. and Symon, G. (2014), "Exploring media construction of investment banking as dirty work", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 270-287. https://doi.org/10.1108/QROM-12-2012-1119Download as .RIS
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