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Constituting Corporate Europe: A Study of Elite Social Organization

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This article explores the emerging shape and form of the European corporate community since 1996. We examine the cohesion of corporate Europe through the network of interlocking corporate directorates and memberships in the European Round Table of Industrialists. We focus on the unequal structure of representation; the interplay of national and transnational aspects of the network; the role of finance capitalists as a signpost of a regime of internationalized finance capital; and the embeddedness of corporate Europe in the global corporate network. Although the transnational European network gained in strength while national networks eroded, expansion of the European network did not negate a structure of representation favoring the northwest. Bankers became less dominant, yet industrialists with financial connections formed the core of the European corporate community, signaling a departure from national corporate communities centered upon banks. At the threshold of the current economic crisis, corporate Europe comprised the most integrated segment of the global corporate elite.

Keywords: European Round Table of Industrialists; capitalist class formation; corporate networks; finance capital; interlocking directorates

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, University of Victoria, Box 3050, Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 3P5;, Email: 2: Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 237, 1012 DL Amsterdam, The Netherlands;, Email: 3: University of Amsterdam, Germany Institute Amsterdam, Prins Hendrikkade 187b, 1011 TD Amsterdam, The Netherlands;, Email:

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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