Running the Family Firm

In recent decades, the global wealth of the rich has soared to leave huge chasms of wealth inequality. This book argues that we cannot talk about inequalities in Britain today without talking about the monarchy.

Running the Family Firm explores the postwar British monarchy in order to understand its economic, political, social and cultural functions. Although the monarchy is usually positioned as a backward-looking, archaic institution and an irrelevant anachronism to corporate forms of wealth and power, the relationship between monarchy and capitalism is as old as capitalism itself.

This book frames the monarchy as the gold standard corporation: The Firm. Using a set of case studies – the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle – it contends that The Firm’s power is disguised through careful stage management of media representations of the royal family. In so doing, it extends conventional understandings of what monarchy is and why it matters.

Running the Family Firm is available to buy from Manchester University Press here.

The book was shortlisted for the British Sociological Association Philip Abrams Memorial Prize for the best first, sole-authored, book.

Here is a video of me introducing the book:

Here’s an animated video explaining some of the book, this one is about ‘The Firm’: how can we think about the British monarchy as a corporation?

And this video asks ‘What’s hidden behind media representations of the British royal family?’

Here’s a video of the book launch, hosted by the Centre for Alternatives to Social and Economic Inequalities (CASEI) based in Lancaster University Sociology Department on Tuesday 28 September 2021. It features responses from Dr Bruce Bennett (Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University), Professor Helen Wood (Sociology Department, Lancaster University) and Dr Sivamohan Valluvan (Sociology Department, University of Warwick) as discussants and was hosted by Distinguished Professor Beverley Skeggs (Sociology Department, Lancaster University) as the Director of CASEI.

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