Good news! The LSE is launching a new executive summer course in the sociology of finance. 

The course, titled “Culture, Networks and Performance,” is a first of its kind. For the first time, an academic program is putting to use the award-winning concepts of the sociology of financemarket devices, embeddedness, performativity– to give professionals in finance an advantage in trading, banking or risk management. 

This course is premised on one simple idea: that there is a new and distinctive way to think sociologically about financial markets. Different from orthodox economics and its emphasis on rational choice. Different as well from behavioral finance and its focus on individuals and mistakes (or “biases”). The sociology of finance incorporates technology like formulae and machines in our understanding of markets. It conceptualizes markets as controversies, where there is often no right and wrong. It explains why management, culture, practice, are critically important to the calculative processes of a bank. And it provides a balanced take on markets – in between the “markets always get it right” approach from economics, and the “this is how people get it wrong” from behavioral finance.  

Participants can expect to:

  • Understand the relational aspects of finance
  • Acquire skills to manage the culture of financial firms
  • Understand the impact of technology on financial markets
  • Discover the limits of economic and financial models 
  • Explore the ways in which by financial communication shapes value

The course is organized by Nina Andreeva and myself. But the instructors will include a broad set of heavyweights from the LSE, including Michael Power (LSE Accounting), Paul Willman (LSE Management), Jean Pierre Zigrand (LSE Finance) and Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra (LSE Sociology).

For more information, dates and a longer description, see here. And for even more information, just drop me a line at

Negotiating integrity:  Playing by the book, rewriting the rules, fiddling and cheating 

For those of you in London, you may which to note the following event taking place at Goldsmiths organized by gambling scholar Claire Loussouarn.

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MSc in Finance, Markets and Organizations, a new 1-year masters program with a strong emphasis on Social Studies of Finance,  that we will start running here, the School of Management, University of Leicester, from this October.  If you have undergraduate students who may be interested, feel free to circulate.



Yuval Millo

Professor of Social Studies of Finance and Management accounting

School of Management, University of Leicester

United Kingdom

In her latest column for FT, Gillian Tett highlights the work of legal scholar and anthropologist of finance Annelise Riles. The topic is regulatory harmonization, the attempt to make financial regulation the same across all nations. Since complete harmony is next to impossible, Annelise has been arguing that financial regulators should consider applying a old and established body of law called ‘conflict-of-law’, to finance.  

Annelise is making a technical argument which may feel a bit obscure at first to social scientists without legal training. For those who do not have access to FT, you can find a brief explanation of the paper in Risk & Regulation Magazine, which I’m currently editing for CARR at LSE.

According to Annelise:

Unlike the harmonization paradigm which pursues legal uniformity, the “conflicts approach” accepts that regulatory nationalism is a fact of life, and sets for itself the more modest goal of achieving coordination among different national regimes. 

Under the conflicts approach the point is not to define one set of rules that apply for all, as is the case in public international law –the law of international organizations such as the UN or the WTO. Rather, it is simply to define under which circumstance should a particular dispute or problem be subject to one state’s law or another.

Thinking in terms of ‘conflict of laws’ changes the debate over global financial regulation because it raises an altogether different set of questions that are largely being ignored. For example: How far does each regulatory jurisdiction extend, and what should be done when there is overlap? When should so-called host regulators of a global, systemically important financial institution defer to so-called home regulators. Thinking about conflicts between laws encourages us to more carefully examine how we allocate authority across the existing regulatory regimes. The approach gives us another way of examining, and therefore of challenging, the scope of national, international, and non-state regulation. After all, when regulators or market participants make a claim about the application of one or another body of laws to a given party or transaction, they are effectively making an implicit claim about what the scope of their national law should be.

Gillian comments that, “In the near future, such radical ideas are unlikely to fly.” But she also notes that”some regulators do now appear to be privately conceding Ms Riles’ point – namely that co-ordination is an unworkable fantasy – and quietly hunting for alternatives.

Special Issue Guest Editors:

Laure Cabantous, Cass Business School, City University London

Jean-Pascal Gond, Cass Business School, City University London

Alex Wright, The Open University Business School

Deadline for submission of 1000-word long abstracts: 30 September 2014

Deadline for submission of papers to the Special Issue: 15 March 2015

Contact details:

 The Performativity of Strategy

Although it is widely acknowledged that strategy matters to society and has multiple effects on organizations and markets, the processes whereby strategic ideas, theories and models influence individuals, organizations and markets remain under-studied. In addition, despite extensive research on strategy, we still know little about how strategy theories “work” in practice. This special issue is a forum to study the performativity of strategy and to answer the following questions: How and why are strategy theories and concepts used and “performed” in practice? What are the implications and impact of the performativity of strategy?

We would like management scholars to engage thoroughly with Michel Callon’s idea that economics and management theories are performative, that is they perform and shape the external world. However, we also consider that other conceptualizations of performativity – such as the conceptualization developed by the Communicative Constitution of Organization perspective, Barad’s post-humanist approach to performativity, or the concept of performative praxis – offer promising avenues to address these questions. The purpose of this Special Issue is to engage scholars who have an interest in the discursive, social-material or practice-based dimensions of the performativity of strategy. We will therefore consider conceptual and empirical manuscripts as long as they explicitly mobilize one (or several) conceptualizations of performativity and they seek to create a new body of knowledge concerning the relationships between strategy theories and practice. We also welcome manuscripts that critically reflect on strategy theories’ influence on organizational reality.

We encourage papers from researchers and practitioners that address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

*  How and to what extent does strategic management acquire the power to shape organizational life and the organizational field? Are strategy theories self-fulfilling prophecies? Can strategy be approached as performative praxis—a set of activities that contribute to turning a theory into social reality?

* How are some strategic management frameworks and tools such as Porter’s five forces framework, Barney’s VRIN model or Freeman’s stakeholder theory more performative than others?

* How do performativity struggles between alternative models or theories of strategy in organizations emerge? For instance, how do strategy theories compete with economic representations of the firm, financial models (e.g., real option modelling) and theories, models and concepts from other disciplines (e.g., decision theory, sociology, ecology) to shape organizational strategies?

* How do academics and practitioners interact (or compete) when designing or diffusing innovative strategic concepts, such as the Bottom of the Pyramid, Blue Ocean Strategy, Coopetition or the Red Queen Effect?

* If business models are models encapsulating an organization’s strategy, to what extent are these models “performative”? Where does the performative power of business models come from?

* How are strategy and management consultants, and other professionals involved in the performativity of strategy?

 In responding to this call, we particularly welcome empirical contributions that document the concrete and practical effects of strategy theory. In terms of methodology, we welcome submissions in which a variety of research strategies and methods for collecting and analysing data are used.

 Process and Deadlines

Stage 1: Submission of a 1000-words abstract by 30 September 2014

Please submit an extended abstract or a clear expression of interest to the guest editors by 30 September 2014 at the email address that follows: All abstracts will receive a first screening and feedback by the guest editors who will encourage authors of promising abstracts to submit full manuscripts to the Special Issue.

Stage 2: Papers for the special issue will have to be sent by 15 March 2015

Papers for the special issue should be prepared according to LRP’s guidelines for authors ( Papers will undergo a normal reviewing process. Please submit full manuscripts to the online submission system of LRP before 15 March 2015:

 Should you have any questions about the Special Issue process and deadlines, please contact the guest editors at

30 September 2014 Submission of abstract

15 October 2014 Notification to authors regarding their abstract submission

15 March 2015 Submission of full paper to Long Range Planning

Winter 2016 Intended publication of Special Issue

Suggested References

Barad, K. 2003. Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3): 801-831.

Barad, K. 2007. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning: Duke University Press.

Cabantous, L., & Gond, J.-P. 2011. Rational decision-making as a ‘performative praxis’: Explaining rationality’s éternel retour. Organization Science, 22(3): 573-586.

Cabantous, L., Gond, J.-P. & Johnson-Cramer, M. 2010. Decision theory-as-practice: Crafting economic rationality in organizations. Organization Studies, 31(11): 1531- 1566.

Callon, M. 1998. The Laws of the Markets. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Callon, M. 2007. What does it mean to say that economics is performative? In D.MacKenzie, F. Muniesa, & L. Siu (Eds.), Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics. Princeton University Press.

Cochoy F., Giraudeau M., McFall L. 2010. Performativity, economics and politics: An overview, Journal of Cultural Economy, 3(2): 139-146.

Cooren, F. 2004. Textual agency: How texts do things in organizational settings. Organization, 11(3): 373-393.

Doganova, L., & Eyquem-Renault, M. 2009. What do business model do? Innovation devices in technology entrepreneurship. Research Policy, 38(10): 1559-1570.

Ferraro, F., Pfeffer, J., & Sutton, R. I. 2005. Economic language and assumptions: How theories can become self-fulfilling. Academy of Management Review, 30(1): 8-24.

Ghoshal, S. 2005. Bad management theories are destroying good management practices. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(1): 75-91.

Hardy, C., Palmer, I., & Phillips, N. 2000. Discourse as a strategic resource. Human relations, 53(9): 1227-1248.

MacKenzie, D., & Millo, Y. 2003. Constructing a market, performing a theory: the historical sociology of a financial derivatives exchange. American Review of Sociology, 109(1): 107-145.

Orlikowski, W., J., & Scott, S. V. 2008. Sociomateriality: Challenging the separation of technology, work and organization. Academy of Management Annals, 2(1): 433-474.

Vaara, E., Sorsa, V., & Pälli, P. 2010. On the force potential of strategy texts: A critical discourse analysis of a strategic plan and its power effects in a city organization. Organization, 17(6): 685-702.

By: Paula Jarzabkowski

Applicants with excellent research potential are invited to apply for two fully-funded, full-time, 4-year Doctoral Studentships to commence in October 2014, working under the lead supervision of Professor Paula Jarzabkowski. These studentships will cover tuition fees and provide an annual bursary.

 Cass Business School, City University London is one of Europe’s leading providers of business and management education at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and is fast developing into the intellectual hub of the City of London. The School is renowned worldwide for its extensive and high quality research and The Financial Times has ranked our PhD offering in the top 40 in the world every year since 2007.

 Proposals are invited on the topic of practice theory approaches to strategy and organization. While the research context and topic is open, candidates taking an explicitly strategy-as-practice approach, and those with an interest in studying finance industries and/or financial risk are particularly welcome.

 One studentship is specifically open for those with a particular interest in the area of video ethnography. The successful applicant would take part in an existing video-ethnographic programme of research examining trading of risk in the reinsurance industry. Applicants for this studentship will join a team and an ongoing programme of research into the reinsurance industry at Cass.

We invite applications from students who have (or can show evidence that they reasonably expect to have) a Masters degree from a leading university with top grades in business, sociology, anthropology or a relevant discipline for the topic areas. Only applicants interested in pursuing an academic career will be considered.

How to apply: Applicants should contact Professor Paula Jarzabkowski directly to discuss their interest via email All applicants will also need to fill out the PhD application form, which may be accessed on the Cass Business School website:        


Everyday Debt and Credit: Special Issue of Cultural Studies
Special Issue: Everyday Debt and Credit
Co-edited by Gregory J. Seigworth (Millersville University) and Joe Deville (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Call for Papers
How do ordinary matters of credit and debt circulate through the space-times of the everyday and the intimate? How has their manner of circulation and the nature of their saturation into the lives of borrowers changed in the age of the app, of the mobile interface, of social media? What are the new technologically enabled effects of debt and credit? Where and how is everyday indebtedness felt by its users and inflected in and through the architectures and atmospheres surrounding them? And, further, what are these postures and practices of our emerging economy of debt and credit pointing toward? From the advent of digitally mediated peer to peer lending to credit scores consulted on first dates (calculating risk before date #2), from cloud-connected loyalty cards to mobile payment and wallet technologies, from the multi-pronged and carefully designed affective tactics of debt collectors to the strategies of gamification for savings and personal finance and more – the material and immaterial articulations of debt and credit have woven themselves ever more ubiquitously into the ecologies of the everyday. If the sheer pervasiveness of credit and debt has become a defining feature of our era, we argue that their omnipresence cannot be confronted as merely one more topic for consciousness-raising and ideology critique. From the data-defined subjectivities of instantaneous algorithmic calculations to those age-old debates over the moralities and immoralities of debt to the emergence of redrawn bodily capacities (extended? shrunken?) and institutional/networked accesses (granted? denied?) that arise with evermore technologically-mediated credit/debt relationships, our contributors will reveal how matters of credit and debt must be met in their myriad relational entanglements with both the fine-grained and roughhewn practices of daily life.
Thus, we welcome essays that provide an empirics of indebtedness as it traverses this varied social and material terrain of the everyday. This includes a contextual focus on the specific apparatuses, devices, encounters, dispositions and affects of routine indebtedness and how different forms of credit reach into and attach themselves to domains often coded, as private, domestic, mundane, and non-economic. In attending to the particularities of daily intersections with credit and/or debt contributions might also consider how these mundane mediations of the economic connect to and shape apparent contextual commonalities, how the politics of ubiquitous credit is distributed, and where and in what form resistances, hacks and new debtor publics might be found. The issue aims to be disciplinarily diverse, to potentially include sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers, political economists, cultural theorists, critical analysts of finance, and those working in science and technology studies, while also inviting contributions from designers, architects, managers and activists. We welcome diverse and innovative takes on everyday indebtedness, ranging from (but not limited to) auto-ethnographic accounts to those investigating through a mix of sensory and/or digital approaches to credit & debt practices.
Please contact the editors with a proposal of 500 words presenting an orientation/overview of your angle of approach to this topic by February 15, 2014. Finished articles are also welcome at anytime but of course slight revisions to better address our issue’s themes should be expected.
Final full paper submissions are due no later than July 15, 2014. Articles are generally between 5000-8000 words (double spaced, size 12 font), including abstract and references. An abstract of 300 words (including 6 keywords) must be included for purposes of journal review. Please supply an email address and other relevant contact information with your submission. Multi-author works should clearly designate a corresponding author. Manuscripts must conform to the Harvard reference style. Consult the journal’s Taylor and Francis website for further specifics on formatting and author guidelines.
Send any inquiries, comments, proposals and papers to both co-editors: Gregory Seigworth <> and Joe Deville <>.

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