Sit Back and Enjoy The Ride: Financial planners and the symbolic domination of clients.

Patrick F Parnaby


Borrowing from Bourdieu’s theory of practice, specifically, the relationship between forms of capital and discourse on the one hand and the nature of symbolic domination on the other (see Bourdieu 1998; 1991), this paper seeks to answer the following question: what discursive strategies do personal financial planners use to facilitate desirable client behavior vis-à-vis market investment? On the basis of 32 semi-structured interviews with financial planners and textual analyses of relevant industry materials, I argue that planners use three essential discursive strategies: the naturalization of market volatility, the establishing of reasonable expectations, and the managing of external discourses. Together, these discursive strategies facilitate the symbolic domination of clients while cultivating a professional relationship amenable to long term investment and profitability.


Bourdieu; finance; risk; discourse; planning

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