We advance a novel idea-centric perspective to study power-laden aspects of institutional life in fields. Our study includes data from the field of impact investing in Europe from 2006-2018, collected from the inside and analyzed collaboratively by inside and outside researchers. We develop an analytical tool based on dichotomies to detect latent forms of conflict that easily remain unnoticed and to see how some ideas become dominant while others are abandoned or sidelined. We display the assembly of a field ideology – a coherent system of ideas that shapes thinking and acting in a field. Furthermore, we specify suppression as a mechanism that gives rise and perpetuates systemic power in fields restricting options and shaping what is valued. Our study provides insights into the dynamic nature of institutional life in fields, including alternative paths not taken and possible futures.
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- ORGANIZATIONAL ANALYSIS