WHAT CAN WE Learn about Financial Crisis with Norbert Elias?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 10:00
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Fernando AMPUDIA DE HARO, CIES-IUL, Portugal
The aim of this paper is to offer a preliminary approach to the current financial crisis using the sociology of Norbert Elias as a theoretical reference. More specifically, this paper focuses on the financial system as a global figuration in order to analyze its social logic of functioning and its connections with certain models of sociability and behavior.
As a global figuration, the financial system can be considered the result of the confluence of a triple vector of forces:
a) The formation of competition spirals. The participants in financial markets, according to a criterion of maximizing profitability, determine a context where competition gradually increases.
b) The constitution of a complex web of interdependences which connects an undetermined number of individuals and institutions around the world.
c) The constitution of a set of limits and obstacles for the action of external constraints over the participants in the financial system.
This triple vector is related to a concrete model of sociability and behavior based on:
a) The social production of indifference as an effect of the decivilizing effects of the high levels of financial interdependency.
b) The logic of free-rider and the lack of attention over the social consequences of the individual action.
c) The promotion of des-identification patterns between the financial established (states, countries, corporations, individuals, communities…) and financial outsiders.
In sum, this paper proposes a framework of a figurational approach to the financial system; an approach which, inherently, includes historical and comparative considerations in order to fully understand the social problems linked to the financialization.