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"l2#l$ Liquidated Review by Gillian Tett Published: October 2 2009 23:17 | ast u!dated: October 2 2009 23:17 i"uidated: #n $thno%ra!hy o& 'all (treet )y *aren +o Duke Press £16.99, 392 pages 'hen , &irst started coverin% &inance &or the -T. , used to %et e/barrassed when as0ed about /y acade/ic !ast1 )e&ore , beca/e a 2ournalist. , did a Ph3 in social anthro!olo%y. a branch o& social science that endeavours to understand the cultural dyna/ics o& societies based on %rass4roots analysis1 )ac0 in the !re4credit crisis days. ban0ers tended to consider de%rees in anthro!olo%y to be rather 5hi!!y61 #s one ban0er told /e7 the only "uali&ications that really co//anded status were those lin0ed to econo/ics. /aths. !hysics and other 5hard6 sciences 8 or. at a !inch. an 9)#1 :ot any/ore1 #s the &inancial disasters o& the !ast two years have un&olded. it has beco/e !ain&ully clear that ban0ers !laced &ar too /uch &aith on their "uasi4scienti&ic /odels1 ,t has also been evident that a %ras! o& cultural dyna/ics is critical in understandin% how /odern &inance wor0s 8 or doesn;t1 <onse"uently. the idea o& usin% the social sciences to understand /oney is beco/in% &ashionable in so/e "uarters1 Given all that. *aren +o has !ic0ed an e=cellent ti/e to !ublish her &ascinatin% new study 8 or 5ethno%ra!hy6 8 o& 'all (treet ban0s1 +o is currently a !ro&essor o& social anthro!olo%y at the >niversity o& 9innesota1 # decade a%o. however. she was an e/!loyee o& )an0ers Trust. &or/erly a !ower&ul 'all (treet ban0in% %iant. and carried out research a/on% a nu/ber o& ban0s1 #s &ield4sites %o. 'all (treet is not classic anthro!olo%ical territory: ethno%ra!hers ty!ically wor0 in re/ote. third4world societies1 +o ad/its that studyin% ban0in% tribes was hard: 5The very notion o& !itchin% a tent at the Roc0e&ellers; yard. in the lobby o& ?P 9or%an or on the &loor o& the :ew @or0 (toc0 $=chan%e is not only i/!lausible but also /i%ht be li/itin% and ill4suited to a study o& the A!ower elite;.6 she writes1 +o nevertheless e/bar0ed on her study in classic anthro!olo%ical /anner: by blendin% into the bac0%round. listenin% intently. in a non42ud%/ental way 8 and then tryin% to 2oin u! the dots to %et a 5holistic6 !icture o& how the culture wor0s1 That !atient ethno%ra!hic analysis has !roduced a &ascinatin% !ortrait that will be re&reshin%ly novel to /ost ban0ers1 +o;s central ar%u/ent borrows heavily &ro/ the wor0 o& Pierre )ourdieu. a sociolo%istBanthro!olo%ist who was !art o& a school o& Gallic thou%ht that e/er%ed in Paris in the 1970s1 )ourdieu conducted his &ieldwor0 in classic anthro!olo%ical style

lex+-'eda 328 pages | 1 line drawing. the &inancial world /i%ht not be "uite in the /ess it is today1 . where he develo!ed the conce!t o& the 5habitus6 8 the idea that a society develo!s a co%nitive /a! to order its world that is usually based on its !hysical e=!erience.s account beco/es /andatory readin% on any 9)# Cor invest/ent ban0in% courseD7 i& nothin% else. +o ar%ues that the 5habitus6 is sha!ed by ban0ers. 1 table | 6 x 9 | © 2009 As the banking crisis and its effects on the world econo ! ha"e ade plain. includin% 2obs and !eo!le1 These !ro2ections are ty!ically couched in the rhetoric o& 5shareholder values6 or abstract conce!ts o& 5&ree4 /ar0et ca!italis/6 8 !resented as absolute 5truths61 +o ar%ues. that /any o& these 5truths6 are riddled with contradictions that ban0ers i%nore because they are seduced by their own rhetoric1 59assive cor!orate restructurin%s are not caused so /uch by abstract &inancial /odels as by the local. however. educational e=!erience and e/!loy/ent history1 9odern &inanciers live in a world where 2obs are insecure. as arket fl#ct#ations threaten o#r plans to send o#r children to college or retire co fortabl!$ . cultural habitus o& invest/ent ban0ers. albeit in ways the !artici!ants are only di/ly aware o&1 . and where ban0ers are !aid by tradin% thin%s or cuttin% deals1 They tend to !ro2ect their e=!erience on to the econo/y by as!irin% to /a0e everythin% 5li"uid6.. Alex &reda looks at the histor! of the arket to fig#re o#t how we arri"ed at a point where in"esting is not onl! co onplace.in a north #&rican tribal %rou!. %ro&nD %%--// &'am()*+&()a)ce THE BOUNDARIES OF MARKETS AND MODERN CAPITALISM . it /i%ht be /ore entertainin% than the other te=ts that ban0ers swallow so uncritically1 Gillian Tett is the FT’s capital markets editor and author o !Fool’s "old’ #$ittle. &or one. the stock arket is of colossal i portance to o#r li"elihoods$ %n Framing Finance.6 she writes1 9ainstrea/ readers /ay &ind this lan%ua%e o&&4!uttin%ly acade/ic7 it is written !ri/arily &or a university crowd1 @et +o !e!!ers her account with revealin% eyewitness stories1 (he describes how invest/ent ban0s o!erate an uns!o0en caste syste/ that divides the elite 5&ront o&&ice6.n the case o& 'all (treet. &ro/ the lowlier 5/iddle6 and 5bac06 o&&ices1 (he analyses the "uasi 50inshi!6 networ0s based on university alu/ni 1 9ost &ascinatin% o& all is her account o& how 'all (treet beco/es deluded by its own rhetoric about 5/ar0et e&&iciency61 (o/e ban0ers /ay still dub this 5hi!!y61 )ut i& only a &ew /ore had been willin% to analyse their sector. the /ission4driven narratives o& shareholder value and the institutional culture o& 'all (treet. b#t critical. would vote that +o. or tradable.s cultural &oibles.

fascinating histor! of the need for and creation of spec#lators. %nternational -enter for 'inance. and enlightening$*+. econo ics. and finall! financial econo ists$ $ $ $ 3his is a fascinating read. .ale /ni"ersit! )Framing Finance looks at the histor! of finance fro a co pletel! new perspecti"e. in"estors. especiall! for those interested in a thoro#gh #nderstanding of arkets. histor!. &reda proposes se"eral inno"ati"e theoretical ideas and concepts that a! well beco e ho#sehold notions in writings on finance$*+ 1aren 1norr -etina. the p#blic was once skeptical$ 'or in"esting to beco e accepted. s#bstantial. 7ew . a deep(seated #ch ore )&reda s#cceeds in transfor ing financial capitalis into ateriall! sit#ated pheno enolog!$ Framing Finance is s#btle.ale :chool of . . /ni"ersit! of -hicago )Alex &reda takes a strikingl! original approach to #nderstanding the role of finance in odern societ!$ 2is book explores finance as concept#al technolog!+an i portant tool of tho#ght$ 3his technolog! has a fascinating histor! of de"elop ent that takes place thro#gh a social and econo ic instit#tional fabric4 with the f#ll d!na ics of inno"ation. and a challenge to arg# ents for the s#pposed ine"itabilit! of arket str#ct#res in odern societ!$* C3he sociological perspecti"e offered b! &reda pro"ides econo ic historians interesting wa!s to fra e their own research into the ongoing de"elop ent of financial capitalis $C )%ndispensable to an! historian seeking to #nderstand how financial occ#p! a central place in the odern econo !$* %%--///////////////// arkets ca e to . chartists. s#stained. and literar! and c#lt#ral st#dies$ 0rawing on his original historical data. aggregating.effre! -$ Alexander. and interpreting infor ation fro the arketplace$ 3his book teaches #s that c#lt#re and i agination of odern societ! is #ch ore deepl! infl#enced b! finance+its arkets and odels+than an!one ight ha"e s#spected$*+6illia 7$ 8oet9 ann.anage ent )2ow did financial in"estors and dealers co e to see like scientists< Alex &reda=s i portant book shows #s how technical de"ices transfor ed the >fra#ds= and >fools= of the eighteenth cent#r! into toda!=s athe aticall! ar ed spec#lators$ ?! showing #s how finance beca e a c#lt#rall! legiti ate p#rs#it. A&redaB pro"ides an exha#sti"e. and financial technolog! de ands profo#nd realign ent of processes of gathering. i itation.ork /ni"ersit! )%n seeking to establish the >bo#ndaries= of financial arkets. co bining sociolog!. and the inexorable flow of arket data$ 2# ans adapt to tools 5#st as tools sol"e h# an proble s.As &reda disco"ers thro#gh extensi"e research. Framing Finance offers a new #nderstanding of the origins of o#r c#rrent econo ic crisis$*+-aitlin @aloo .

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