Introduction
Why does monarchy matter?
in Running the Family Firm
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The introduction sets out how the book approaches its study of monarchy as the Firm: a capitalist corporation oriented towards, and historically entrenched in, processes of capital accumulation, profit extraction and forms of exploitation. It opens with an account of the monarchy’s imbrication in the ‘Paradise Papers’ scandal in November 2017, a case study which raises questions and themes fundamental to this book: the interrelations between ‘old’ wealth and ‘new’ wealth’; how the monarchy is a key player in financial capitalism; and how the media culture of monarchy seeks to disguise and ‘produce consent for’ its wealth and power through representations of the royal family. The chapter demonstrates the urgency of studying monarchy today by outlining the contemporary context of widening global inequalities, the rising wealth and power of ‘the elites’ and the persistence of hereditary, aristocratic forms of wealth. It reflects on the similarities between the Firm and global corporations to make the case that the monarchy is a deeply political institution which ensures the social, political, cultural and economic order. Finally, the chapter introduces the frameworks and methodologies used in this book to interrogate monarchy: figurative methodology, and the work of British Cultural Studies, particularly Stuart Hall. This demonstrates how ideas of monarchy as a royal family are reproduced in media culture, the role of media culture in shaping practices of state and society, and how media culture is one ‘mechanism of consent’ for securing (royal) power.

Running the Family Firm

How the monarchy manages its image and our money

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