Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
RN09_03: Money, Finance and Society I
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Sebastian Nessel, University of Graz
Session Chair: Marta Olcoń-Kubicka, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Polish Academy of Sciences
Location: BS.3.16
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

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"African Money in the Heart of Europe": Bitcoin and Monetary Pluralism Within Central-European Economy

Martin Tremčinský

Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

Bitcoin is a new digital technology of exchange which re-introduces into western societies monetary pluralism. Bitcoin is designed in order to overcome the central control of third parties - such as central banks or national states - over economic exchange and as such it is quite resistant towards state-led institutionalization. This puts bitcoin into an ambivalent position which plays crucial role in its practical uses; i.e. sometimes it is treated as money, sometimes as commodity; sometimes the prices for goods and services are fixed in fiat currencies, sometimes in bitcoins. Such situation of “monetary anarchism” resonates with monetary practices of west-African popular economies as described by Jane I. Guyer in "Marginal Gains". Guyer analyses asymmetrical monetary conversions, where statuses of money-objects are being shifted in order to allow gains for one of the exchanging parties. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in two Bitcoin communities in Prague and Bratislava this text argues that bitcoin allows for a similar kind of conversions. Such strategies enable some members of the bitcoin community to deal with volatility of bitcoin’s prize while fully embracing its ambiguous character and treat the “monetary anarchism” as a resource of its own. In conclusion this analysis aims to discuss a process Achille Mbembe calls “Becoming Black of the world” and its relation to inter-linked developments of late capitalism and digitalization, stressing the possibilities of analyzing newly emerging digital economies via popular economic practices from the so-called margins of modernity.

Can Local Currencies Enhance Recycling Practices And Breathe New Life To Local Commerce?

Sandra Lima Coelho

Católica Porto Business School, Portugal

Fevre (2003: 5) argues that when economic rationality extends beyond the economic field and expands to other dimensions of social life, morality tends to contract and to interfere less with economic behavior. But does economic behavior have moral ends, or are we tainted by the values of economic rationality to the point where all our behavior is motivated by economic ends? We looked for answers to this question in an exploratory study about the project "Pago em Lixo", created by the Campolide Parish Council, in Lisbon, which implemented a local currency – Lixo - with the aim of involving the community in recycling waste. This action has a moral purpose: raise citizens’ awareness to the need of recycling waste and to contribute to maintain public spaces clean. However, this project also aims at improving local commerce dynamics, as the local currency can only be used at local traditional shops.

In this presentation, we expose the modus operandi of "Pago em Lixo" and discuss the motivations of the Parish Council to implement this project. An analysis of information collected in a semi-directive interview with the President of this council, interviews with participants in the project and data collected through direct observation of two of the project’s actions is also provided. Results demonstrate that the use of this local currency contributes to strengthen community ties while simultaneously encourages the adoption of greater civic awareness behaviors, reflecting an ersatz morality.

Changing Market Logics? The Pressure from Foreign Institutional Investors

Shi-Rong LEE

Sciences Po, France

This research examines how the logic of financialisation diffuse from shareholder capitalisms to a stakeholder market, i.e. Taiwan in this case, and how conflicting market ideologies interact with each other. Specifically, this paper investigates how the global force that encourages the maximising shareholder value discourse interacts with the local institutions, such as family business, and how they influence corporate governance behaviours and shareholder value strategies over time. This research adopts an institutional approach and argues that transnational actors and finance are the drives for the institutional change of firms in a stakeholder market. However, local institutions may also exercise their agency vis-à-vis the pressure from the global institutional investors. Using panel data of public firms listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange from 1996 to 2016, the primary findings suggest that foreign institutional investors as shareholders increase the likelihood of mergers and acquisitions of firms and shareholder corporate governance strategies. Second, compared with firms that are controlled by families or alliances, corporations supervised by professional management are more inclined to adopt mergers and acquisitions. Finally, the educational and career experience of board members also plays a role. This research, therefore, contributes to the literature on institutional change and the mechanism of the diffusion of shareholder values and its consequences.

What Role Does Communication Play In Financial Product Development?

Sonia Kollner

Uppsala University, Sweden

According to recent approaches within the Sociology of Finance, the development of financial products can be understood as a variety of epistemic practices, whereby the analytical focus lies on the technological and material aspects of knowledge production. This presentation shifts the focus towards the communication practices by which product developers envision the future financial product and negotiate its feasibility with colleagues, superiors, business partners and clients. Applying Goffman’s dramaturgical approach, this contribution asks: How are the financial products rendered meaningful? How is a shared understanding of the financial product established?

This presentation utilizes findings from an ethnographical study conducted during 3 months in a private bank’s product development department that focuses specifically on the construction of individualized investment products for High Net Worth Individuals. Through participant observation in the department’s office, document analysis and expert interviews with a financial product developer, this study has shed light on the everyday communication practices of financial product developers, which entail working out the construction of the products, developing simulations and product presentations as well as engaging in e-mail conversations as they seek to establish trust in their products.

The findings of the study suggest that the product developer’s communication practices in this respect can be regarded as an example of what Goffman calls the practice of ‘framing’. Through the analysis of the ways in which the financial products are made sense of throughout the communication process, this presentation understands communication as a key aspect of financial knowledge practices and argues that the role of communication needs to be better understood in the context of financial product development.