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When Culture is Everywhere: The case of financial risk management
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper considers how the concept of "culture" has become increasingly used and important within financial risk management. It is based on the findings from low-intensive, long-term "collatoral" (Marcus 2013) fieldwork, in the form of dialogical lecturing within financial risk management, at which anthropological perspectives on risk management are discussed with practitioners in finance. It takes as point of departure Ulf Hannerz (1993) discussion on culture, and how it has come to be used not only to denote commonalities between groups of people, but also to describe individual as well as universal human traits. This paper argues that the concept of culture is deployed within financial risk management with the aim to avoid or minimize financial risk and crisis. There indeed are cultural commonalities within the financial sector that effect the way risk management is carried out and that result in both financial risk and crisis. However, the way "culture" is understood within financial risk management is rather, one the one hand, as individual traits (of persons or singular corporations) or, on the other, as universal traits ("greed"). This means that they way culture is understood within this sector, makes they way the sector as such both rests upon, recreates and depends upon common, cultural understandings which uphold practices that result in crisis, invisible. The way "culture" is understood within financial risk management thus makes it impossible to get sight of, deal with or prevent the way financial culture actually causes financial risk and crisis. This paper then ends with a discussion on how, as culture is everywhere, also within financial risk management, culture is understood an deployed in ways different, or even contradictory to anthropological understandings and practices. How does anthropology react to this? Do we become upset that our favourite concept is kidnaped and used differently to how we might like it to be? Do we simply note that emic understandings of culture in various concepts differ from anthropological understandings, and study this as a peculiar practice of our informants? Or is anthropology put at work in a dialogical collaboration about different understandings of the concept of culture, and the consequences of them as they are used in practice, with the hope of better mutual understanding, and possibly also a transformation of how culture is conceived - in this particular case - for transformed financial risk management? The latter view is the view of this paper.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Humanities and the Arts Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Cultural Anthropology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-320907OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-320907DiVA, id: diva2:1091492
Conference
SANT, Sveriges Antropologförbund,Plats och Navigation
Available from: 2017-04-26 Created: 2017-04-26 Last updated: 2017-12-29

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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