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Liquidated : an ethnography of Wall Street
Ho, Karen Zouwen
Adult Nonfiction HD8039.S432 U68 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The timely question, "What caused the current global financial crisis?" provokes answers usually aimed at the level of institutions and the more abstract "market logic." Ho's refreshing ethnography of the daily lives of Wall Street investment bankers takes another tack and outlines a web of practices, beliefs and structures that may be vital to understanding what keeps the market system in place despite built-in instabilities. Ho, a former business analyst and now an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota, unpacks constant downsizing, high risk/high reward job liquidity, shortsighted compensation structures, prestige and the ruse of shareholder value. Her keen eye for the significance of space illuminates workplace narratives, e.g., segregating staff by floor, function and prestige; constant and lavish recruiting events at Princeton and Harvard; and anticlimactically tawdry office space for most workers. The author exposes how elite undergraduates are immersed in a culture promoting finance as the only legitimate job, how educational pedigrees reinforce the financial world's self-image-while the actual jobs remain rigidly hierarchical (stratifying women, people of color and non-Ivy League graduates), highly unstable and isolating, encouraging a culture in which making money is the only value. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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