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Conservatives Versus WildcatsA Sociology of Financial Conflict$
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Simone Polillo

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804785099

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804785099.001.0001

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Banking and finance as organized Conflict

Banking and finance as organized Conflict

(p.43) 2 Banking and finance as organized Conflict
Conservatives Versus Wildcats

Simone Polillo

Stanford University Press

This chapter highlights the social processes that invest money, in the form of specific, differentiated financial instruments, with the power to signal membership. It conceptualizes banks as organizations operating in a “financial field,” a social arena in which they recognize and monitor the activities of one another and circulate collective identities with which they give meaning to their financial operations. By understanding finance as a field, it also brings Joseph Schumpeter’s important distinction between conservative and wildcat bankers, which is briefly compared to other sociological approaches to money and banking. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the external forces that affect financial fields. Specifically, through a focus on democratic institutions, it delineates some of the pressures and constraints, as well as outlets and opportunities, that different kinds of bankers can exploit in their pursuit of conservative, or wildcat banking strategies.

Keywords:   Social Membership, Collective Identity, Financial Field, Conservative Banking, Wildcat Banking, Schumpeterian Theory of Money, Institutions, Democratic Regimes, Speculation

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