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Oxford University Press
Material Markets: How Economic Agents are Constructed

Material Markets: How Economic Agents are Constructed


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Financial markets, processes, and instruments are often difficult to fathom; the credit crisis highlights both their importance and their fragility. Donald MacKenzie is one of the most perceptive analysts of the workings of the financial world. In this book, he argues that economic agents and markets need to be analyzed in their full materiality: their physicality, their corporeality, their technicality. Markets are populated not by disembodied, abstract agents, but by embodied human beings and technical systems. Concepts and systematic ways of thinking that simplify market processes and make them mentally tractable are essential to how markets function.

In putting forward this material sociology of markets, the book synthesizes and contributes to the field of social studies of finance; the application to financial markets not just of economics but of wider social-science disciplines, in particular science and technology studies. The topics covered include the development of financial derivatives exchanges; arbitrage; how corporate profit figures are constructed; the crucial new markets in carbon emissions; and a case-study of a hedge fund (based, unusually, on direct observation of its trading).

The book will appeal to research students and academics across the social sciences, and the general reader will enjoy the book's explanations and analyses of some of the most important phenomena of today's turbulent markets.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199278152
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 03/08/2009
Series: Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Donald MacKenzie, Professor of Sociology, University of Edinburgh

Donald MacKenzie is Professor of Sociology (Personal Chair) at the University of Edinburgh. His books include Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics (Princeton University Press, 2008), and An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets (MIT Press, 2006).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Ten Precepts for the Social Studies of Finance
3. Assembling an Economic Actor
4. Derivatives: The Production of Virtuality
5. The Material Sociology of Arbitrage
6. Measuring Profit
7. Constructing Emissions Markets
8. Conclusion: Opening the Black Boxes of Finance

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Material Markets: How Economic Agents Are Constructed 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
carlosemferreira on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Here is a very interesting and relevant book, if you're into this kind of thing. It is well-researched and well-written, if not exactly bulging with empirical practice. That might be a somewhat unfair criticism, and the driver of the author was always to set out a framework for research, not to catalogue it.