- Format: Paperback
- ISBN: 978-1-5261-5875-8
- Pages: 336
- Price: £15.99
- Published Date: September 2021
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.
'This is a major reassessment of the British monarchy and its place in cultural, social and economic life. Laura Clancy offers a lucid examination of the ideological roles of the royals and, through detailed research, pulls back the curtain to reveal their economic organisation and vested interests. Arguing that monarchy is a key means through which the social mechanisms of inequality are disguised and naturalised, she offers a thorough, persuasive and far-reaching account of what the monarchy really "gives back."'
Jo Littler, Professor of Sociology, City, University of London
'Running the Family Firm is an incisive account of what propels the public image of the British monarchy and how it is shaped by issues concerning gender, class, colonialism, corporate power, social media, and national identity.'
Francesca Sobande, author of The Digital Lives of Black Women in Britain
'There are few institutions that have been as effective in hiding their operations from public view as the British monarchy. In her brilliantly researched book, Running the Family Firm, Laura Clancy deftly traces the strategic ways in which the corporation known as "The Firm" has maximised profits and engaged in capital accumulation for its own benefit, whilst projecting to the world a false image of a benign family institution, committed to simple, selfless service to the nation. Rather than the mythical tale we've been sold, of the British Monarchy as an apolitical entity, a different, more disturbing picture emerges from the pages of this book, namely a portrait of an economic and political enterprise ruthlessly managed as an exploitative financial machine. By exposing the co-constitutive and co-dependent relationships between invisibility, visibility and power, Clancy provides a penetrating sociological take on what Prince Harry once called the "invisible contract" between the Monarchy and the British media. Clancy takes us "backstage" to reveal how the Monarchy's tax havens abroad are directly connected to class inequality at home. More than a book "just about the Monarchy", Running the Family Firm is a brilliant sociological account about power, media manipulation, and the reproduction of social and economic inequality today. This is contemporary sociology at its best.'
Ben Carrington, Associate Professor of Sociology and Journalism, University of Southern California
BSA Philip Abrams Memorial Prize
Introduction: Why does monarchy matter?
1 The (Family) Firm: Labour, capital and corporate power
2 'The greatest show on earth': Monarchy and media power
3 'Queen of Scots': National identities, sovereignty and the body politic
4 Let them have Poundbury! Land, property and pastoralism
5 'I am Invictus': Masculinities, 'philanthrocapitalism' and the military-industrial complex
6 The heteromonarchy: Kate Middleton, 'middle-classness' and family values
7 Megxitting the Firm: Race, postcolonialism and diversity capital
Postscript: The post-royals
Laura Clancy is a Lecturer in Media at Lancaster University