Financialization and Everyday Life

14th Berlin Roundtables on Transnationality in cooperation with Free University Berlin,  June 25 – 29, 2011

The recent financial crisis has once more revealed the power financial markets hold over everyday life. The financial and especially the credit and loan system has lost its reputation as a driving force for economic growth. It now increasingly stands for the ongoing dispossession of the middle classes and even more of already vulnerable populations. From a broader perspective, however, this is only one aspect of the ongoing financialization. In fact, many have argued that financialization has given the average citizen unprecedented power over corporations through political consumerism and shareholder activism. And corporations respond to these new demands through large CSR programs and codes of conduct.

The 14th Berlin Roundtables sought to address the financialization beyond a narrow economic framework as a social, political and cultural process in the advanced industrial countries, as well as in transitional societies and developing countries and at a variety of levels – local, national, and regional. The conference were divided into two workshops:

Workshop I ‘Deconstructing Credit and Money in Neoliberalism: Power, Culture, and History’ chaired by Jane Guyer (Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University) and Susanne Soederberg (Global Development & Political Studies, Queen’s University, Canada) and

Workshop II ‘Financialization and Corporate Social Responsibility: Consumers and Investors as the New Policymakers?’ chaired by Boris Holzer (Sociology, University of Bielefeld) and Bryane Michael (Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

For further information, please see the Background Paper.

Based on an international essay competition, approximately 30 applicants were selected to discuss their research and practical ideas with prominent scholars at one of Europe's leading research institutions.

The Roundtables were accompanied by two evening lectures:

Jane Guyer (Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University)
"Cash and Livelihood in Africa: Challenges for Research"

Joel Bakan (Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia)
"Good Corp, Bad Corp: Corporate Social Responsibility and the Breaking of Society"

For further information, please download the invitation flyers.

Irmgard Coninx Research Grant

After the conference, a jury awarded two three-month fellowships among the workshop participants to be used for research and academic networking in Berlin at the WZB. For more information on the grant winners, please click here.