20th January 2014

Opening the Black Box of Financial Institutions

For the next SASE meeting, Olivia Nicol and David Stark are organizing a mini-conference “Opening the Black Box of Financial Institutions”.

The deadline for submissions is February 3rd 2014 (the deadline was extended).

The recent financial crisis has furthered a growing interest in sociology of finance. Studies have focused mainly on the causes or consequences of the crisis, investigating issues related to sociology of knowledge or to the functioning of financial institutions and their regulation. In the proposed session, we would be interested in contributions that open the black box of financial institutions, studying financial actors at work. Who are those “greedy bankers” who triggered so much public anger during the crisis? How are they recruited, trained, and promoted? How is their work environment organized? What is the ethos prevailing in financial institutions and their sub-divisions? We welcome studies that illuminate financial actors’ personal and professional trajectory, their status hierarchies, their norms and modes of cooperation and restraint, and their worldviews more generally.  Financial actors could belong to different kinds of institutions, from investment banks to credit rating agencies to regulatory agencies.  We welcome both qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Papers for this session could address questions such as the following:

  • A. Value and values on Wall Street
  1. How is economic cooperation and restraint enforced on Wall Street?
  2. How do financial actors frame their obligations towards their peers, their clients, and/or society in general?
  • B. Personal and professional trajectories
  1. How do career paths and compensation practices on Wall Street affect individuals’ conception of their work? How is compensation distributed and perceived internally?
  2. The revolving door and its consequences on regulation: myth or reality?
  • C. The organization of the work environment
  1. How is the work of valuation (in its various manifestations) organized?
  2. How do spatial and technological arrangements shape interactions and coordination?

Submissions for panels will be open to all scholars on the basis of an extended abstract. The mini-conference will be composed of 2 to 3 panels, depending on the quality of the submissions. Selected participants must submit a completed paper to discussant and organizers by June 1, 2013. If a paper proposal cannot be accommodated within the mini-conference, it will be forwarded to the most appropriate research network as a regular submission.

Organizers: Olivia Nicol and David Stark