Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by Akademie Verlag June 12, 2020

Auf der Suche nach dem verlorenen Sinn? Unternehmer zwischen Gottesfurcht und Marktglaube im modernen Kapitalismus

In Search of Lost Meaning? Businesspeople in Modern Capitalism between Fear of God and Faith in the Market
Martin Lutz and Boris Gehlen


This issue takes a critical look at the secularity of the modern businessman as frequently postulated in research. For this purpose, the contributions examine the contingency management and interpretation of meaning on the part of both genuinely religious and non-religious businesspeople. How, and with which references, symbolisms and semantics, did businesspeople justify their actions and give them meaning? While some legitimised their actions by grounding these in religious belief, for others a belief in the market’s productive forces offered a preferable interpretation. In both cases, the actors constructed their respective "promises of salvation" in a similar way, attempting to give their actions meaning and eliminate self-doubt through ostentatious, ritualized and symbolic communication. This special issue ties in with current discussions in social science and history about the relationship between religion and the economy. By drawing on cultural historical approaches, it offers new insights into the legitimation of entrepreneurial action in modern capitalism.

JEL Classification: B 10; B 15; B 20; B 25; N 00; N 01; N 30; N 80; Z 12
Published Online: 2020-06-12
Published in Print: 2020-06-25

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