The Social Life of Financial Derivatives

Markets, Risk, and Time

Book Pages: 424 Illustrations: Published: September 2017

Author: Edward LiPuma

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Economics, Sociology > Social Theory

In The Social Life of Financial Derivatives Edward LiPuma theorizes the profound social dimensions of derivatives markets and the processes, rituals, and belief systems that drive them. In response to the 2008 financial crisis and drawing on his experience trading derivatives, LiPuma outlines how they function as complex devices that organize speculative capital as well as the ways derivative-driven capitalism not only produces the conditions for its own existence, but also penetrates the fabric of everyday life. Framing finance as a form of social life and highlighting the intrinsically social character of financial derivatives, LiPuma deepens our understanding of derivatives so that we may someday use them to serve the public well-being.


"[A] concise and unique point of view of the role of derivatives and their potential negative impact on our society.... LiPuma provides a necessary and important look at the obscure but consequential role of financial derivatives in the global economy.Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals." — R. M. Ramazani, Choice

"Extremely interesting in terms of opening new windows to the financial landscape." — Ehsan Lor Afshar, Anthropology Book Forum

“During the past forty years society has become increasingly financialized, driven by the growth of derivative assets and the derivative style of thinking. But the theory behind derivatives trading, though compelling in parts, leads to a practice involving ritual and magical thinking. Edward LiPuma appropriately brings an anthropologist’s eye to the role of derivatives and risk in society, providing a deep and fascinating account of how to turn derivatives’ power to the interests of the collective good.” — Emanuel Derman, author of Models.Behaving.Badly

"No other book engages the socialness of finance theory and market operation at so many levels and from so many different directions. And as an anthropologist and a trader there may be no one else in the world better qualified to discuss these issues than Edward LiPuma. His analysis is foundational for the study of the social in finance. A very important book." — Dick Bryan, coauthor of Capitalism with Derivatives: A Political Economy of Financial Derivatives, Capital, and Class


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Price: $30.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Edward LiPuma is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Miami, coauthor of Financial Derivatives and the Globalization of Risk, also published by Duke University Press, and author of The Gift of Kinship: Structure and Practice in Maring Social Organization.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Prefacing a Theory of the Derivative  1
1. Originating the Derivative  27
2. Social Theory and the Market for the Production of Financial Knowledge  81
3. Outline of a Social Theory of Finance  116
4. Temporality and the Financial Markets  144
5. Theorizing the Financial Markets Socially  170
6. Rituality and the Production of Financial Markets  199
7. The Specualtive Ethos  229
8. The Social Habitus of Financial Work  267
9. The Social Dimensions of Black-Scholes  304
10. Derivatives and Wealth  336
Notes  355
References  389
Index  399
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6971-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6956-1
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