Ballet for the Sun King: Power, Talent and Organisation

John Lever, Stephen Swailes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Notions of “talent” and “celebrity” dominate popular culture. Whether on TV shows, in popular media or in the workplace, people talk about “talent” as something that generates or leads to prosperity and success. Drawing on the work of Norbert Elias, in this chapter we argue that the “elitist” and “subjective” forms of talent management evident in contemporary business organisations were originally institutionalised bycan be traced back to Louis XIVs management of the French Court in the seventeenth century. Building on Elias’s dance metaphor, we argue that talent management is structured by a plethora of management technologies and performance measures that allow senior management to maintain the boundaries of the permissible and ward off dissent before it threatens the established order.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Social Organisation of Marketing
Subtitle of host publicationA Figurational Approach to People, Organisations, and Markets
EditorsJohn Connolly, Paddy Dolan
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan UK
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9783319515717
ISBN (Print)9783319515700
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2017


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