Global Cities and the Financial Class

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Seminar 31 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Conny PETZOLD, Goethe-Universitat Frankfurt, Germany
Verena SCZECH, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Germany
Marco HOHMANN, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Germany
Our contribution is related to the research project “Global Financial Markets and Global Financial Class”, pursued at the Department of Sociology at Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main in collaboration with the Macquarie University in Sydney. In the project we ask if the global financial markets constitute the economic background for the formation of a "global financial class".

Deep economic transformations associated with the term financialization have led to the global integration of financial circuits over the last decades. In this context the class formation of financial professionals lacks an examination and especially their involvement in specific urban landscapes of global cities such as Frankfurt and Sydney.

Using a contrastive comparison of the two financial centers we want to highlight the urban life styles, group formation processes and articulations of global imaginations in the two cities Frankfurt and Sydney. Taking into account the distinctive positions of financial professionals as protagonists in the global city formation it is the linkage of local urban elite networks to global corporate business circles that needs to be addressed.

With the paper we aim to confront the image of a specific management type being presented as boundary-less and cosmopolitan with empirical findings in the financial community of two second-tier financial centers, namely Frankfurt and Sydney. The local embeddedness of an increasingly global business such as finance is still biographically conveyed in career patterns of financial professionals. Following the argument financial centers become visible as arenas intrinsically bound to the creation of inequality. Urban practices of financial professionals are to be framed as cultural struggles over privileged social positions that find their expressions in the build environment of the city.