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Collectif CSI

Capitalizing on Forms

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We sneak inside the offices of one of these organizations where the spirit of capitalism, it is said (Boltanski and Chiapello 1999), is brewed: a management consulting firm. We meet there consultants who are intensely preoccupied—if not obsessed—by “value creation” in all its manifestations; making money, of course, is the most prosaic translation of that elegant expression, but the idea of just being constructive and contributive also applies. Management consultants stand, or are supposed to stand, as the craftspersons of the improvement of value in private business organizations and public administrations alike—also, why not, in the institutions of civil society. They are also employed to defend the value of consultancy proper and to signal, sometimes emphatically, how worthwhile their endeavors are (or how worthwhile they themselves are), since they are subjected to demanding working conditions, and also quite often critiqued for their shallowness, uselessness, dubiousness or wor...

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