Warwick Critical Finance Group Newsletter

January 19, 2018

💰 Stories of Capitalism

Greetings, newsletter readers, 

We hope you all had a good start into the new year. We will kick off 2018 with the presentation of Stefan Lein's thrilling new book 'Stories of Capitalism: Inside the Role of Financial Analysts', which draws upon two years of ethnographic fieldwork in a Swiss bank. Join us for Stefan's book talk on 14 February at the University of Warwick.

Below you can also find the link to the audio recording of our first WCF Dialogue on 'Resilience: Market Subjects and Performative Politics' with James Brassett and John Morris. Moreover, we would like to bring two fascinating research networks to your attention ('Politics of Money' and 'FinGeo') as well as a conference on financialisation and development policies.

Thank you for reading. Please spread the word and see you at our next event!

Best wishes,
Fabian, Johannes, Lauren, Luke, Marco, Ruben and Sahil

WCF Book Talk: 'Stories of Capitalism: Inside the Role of Financial Analysts'

The financial crisis and the recession that followed caught many people off guard, including experts in the financial sector whose jobs involve predicting market fluctuations. Financial analysis offices in most international banks are supposed to forecast the rise or fall of stock prices, the success or failure of investment products, and even the growth or decline of entire national economies. And yet their predictions are heavily disputed. How do they make their forecasts—and do those forecasts have any actual value? Stefan Leins addresses these questions in his new book 'Stories of Capitalism'. 

The book is an ethnography of financial analysis. Drawing on two years of fieldwork in a Swiss bank, Leins argues that financial analysts construct stories of possible economic futures, presenting them as coherent and grounded in expert research and analysis. In so doing, they establish a role for themselves—not necessarily by laying bare empirically verifiable trends but rather by presenting the market as something that makes sense and is worth investing in. Stories of Capitalism is a nuanced look at how banks continue to boost investment—even in unstable markets—and a rare insider’s look into the often opaque financial practices that shape the global economy.

Dr Stefan Leins is senior lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies of the University of Zurich and a member of the research program Anthropology of Economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).  His research interest is in the culture of economies and theories of capitalism. He works on financial analysis, forecasting, science and technology, Islamic finance, socially responsible investing, the history of economic knowledge, and the narrative dimension of finance.

Join us for the presentation of Stefan's thrilling new book!

Wednesday 14th February 2018, 5.00 – 6.30pm at the University of Warwick, S1.50 (Social Sciences).

More information

WCF Dialogue on Resilience: Audio Recording Available

Recent years have seen a proliferation of the resilience discourse in both policy and academia, yet the movement to finance – where it typically focuses on the rhetoric of stability in relation to economic shocks – has been less well covered and less well reflected. A couple of examples: In 2013, the World Economic Forum stated its agenda to foster ‘resilient dynamism’ in the global economy, the Bank for International Settlements has sought to promote 'the road to a more resilient banking sector', and economists affiliated to both the IMF and the World Bank can now be found comparing economies and regions on their capacity for resilience to financial crises.

Building from their forthcoming books Securing Finance, Mobilizing Risk and Affective Politics of the Global Event, John Morris and James Brassett zoomed in on the Bank of England's move towards resilience thinking and connected it to (wider) questions of subjectivity and performativity.

If you have missed the WCF Dialogue or if you want to listen back to it, you can now find the recording on our webpage: click here.

Call for Papers – Financial Geography (FinGeo) Network

The FinGeo Network aims to promote and stimulate diversity, innovation and excellence in research on the spatiality of money and finance and its implications for the economy, society, and nature.

As an interdisciplinary network, FinGeo is open to researchers from a variety of backgrounds including financial and economic geography, finance and business studies, economics, sociology, anthropology, political science, urban and regional studies, planning, environmental studies, and development studies.
In 2018, the FinGeo network hosts a variety of events in Europe that provide Early Career Scholars with the possibility to present their work on finance:

Research Project – Politics of Money: The Resilience of Finance Capitalism

Politics of Money is a research network sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG) at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies. The research network strives to combine fine-grained money and finance analysis with social theory and larger questions of political economy.

The research project is motivated by the fact that the basic setup of the monetary system is more problematic today than it used to be, serving the interests not of society as a whole but of the owners and the producers of financial capital. Therefore, the research project seeks a better understanding of the role money and finance play in the cyclical emergence of over-exploitation and extreme inequality under finance capitalism.

In a series of workshops, the research project aims to contribute to our understanding of money, financialisation, financial capitalism; financial practices in banking, accounting and technology; the changing ecologies of the financial system; regulation and governance of finance; and, especially, how financialisation contributes to but also gets reinforced by societal inequalities.

Financialisation and Development Policies Conference

This conference in Hamburg looks at the ways in which private finance actors or practices are enrolled and associated to the conception and implementation of policies for international development. In parallel to the implementation of policies oriented towards 'development goals', the development landscape has seen over the last decades a transformation in partaking actors that now encompass charitable foundations, multinational corporations, and financial intermediaries, in addition to multilateral or bilateral public development banks and aid agencies. “Financing development“, in other words finding additional monetary resources, has now become an issue at the top of the agenda of multilateral development actors. Increasingly, these strive to commit private actors and to “lever in“ private money.

Contributors are invited to submit an initial proposal of up to 800 words (plus references) by March 6th 2018.

More information can be found here.



14 Feb 2018: WCF Book Talk
Stories of Capitalism: Inside the Role of Financial Analysts with Dr Stefan Leins, University of Zurich.

August 2018: WCF Writing Workshop
For Early Career Researchers, writing can be a daunting task. What to write? Who to address? What is the contribution? How are debates best addressed and framed? How to turn PhD chapters into standalone pieces? The 1st WCF Writeshop tries to tackle these issues. More information on this will follow in our next newsletter.

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Warwick Critical Finance Group · Department of Politics and International Studies · University of Warwick · Coventry, CV4 7AL · United Kingdom

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