Inside-Out: How Desjardins Members Became Outsiders in their own Cooperative

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dc.contributor.advisor Busse, M en
dc.contributor.advisor Shore, C en Palmer, Lise en 2018-04-05T21:58:11Z en 2017 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract This thesis tells a story about how a radical cooperative, born out of opposition to “the big banks”, turned into a bank itself. It is a story centred on the cooperative members’ journey from insiders to outsiders, what that shift means for the organisation, and what it can tell us about the role of money in society today. Desjardins was founded as an anti-capitalist organisation fighting inequalities and has, today, become a capitalist organisation perpetuating them. With $258 billion in assets, Desjardins is now Canada’s largest financial cooperative and is ranked the strongest financial institution in North America. I show how the evolution of the position of Desjardins’ members reveals the cooperative is close to a formal conversion into a for-profit bank. This would formalise the loss of a vehicle for empowerment of its five million Québecois members. While Desjardins is not alone in being at risk of losing its cooperative status, and case studies explore some of these conversions, the anthropological analysis I present in this thesis brings a fine-grained analysis of one particular - and critical - element in the demutualisation process: the re-positioning of the member. Using interviews with Desjardins members and with a former President and CEO of Desjardins, site visits to Desjardins’ new Innovation Lab, and a textual analysis of Desjardins materials including web pages and published reports, I trace the journey of Desjardins members from insiders to outsiders. I focus on the years 2007-2016, linking a period of accelerated changes with the 2007/2008 financial crisis, and to the concepts of audit culture and shareholder value orientation. Finally, I discuss the implications of members’ current position on the periphery of Desjardins, suggesting that a “frame misalignment” between Desjardins leaders and Desjardins members is resulting in increasing alienation between the organisation and its members. I conclude by suggesting that the dislocation of Desjardins members is emblematic of a broader struggle in our society: the struggle over the place of money in our lives today. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99265056513602091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
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dc.rights.uri en
dc.title Inside-Out: How Desjardins Members Became Outsiders in their own Cooperative en
dc.type Thesis en Anthropology en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.elements-id 735211 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2018-04-06 en

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