The Story of the French Touch on “Immatériels”: A Retrospective

Gumb Bernard, Fustec Alan/ Financial ReportingRiviste/ Fascicolo: 3-2013

The present paper aims to trace the recent tendencies, in France, around the concept of “actifs immatériels”, including both intangible assets and intellectual capital. In its first part we develop semantic and contextual specificities which might explain the late engagement on such topics by French scholars. The second part is about observed trends and initiatives, some in which the authors were involved. The section has two parts, one on academic and institutional initiatives and the other on corporations and individuals who have entered the field, especially after 2006. The third part comes to critical perspectives on intangibles, leading to a discussion where the broad concept of actifs immatériels provides a framework for understanding economics not only on the company level, but also on the state level. The resulting “dialectic immaterialism” thus provides a relevant rereading of new capitalism.

Keywords: Intangible, assets, capital, immatériels.

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