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Accepted Paper:

Reading the market: valuation practices, anticipatory knowledge, and storytelling among financial analysts  
Stefan Leins (University of Konstanz)

Paper short abstract:

Based on ethnographic research in a financial analysis department of an internationally operating bank, this paper looks at valuation practices, anticipatory knowledge and the construction of narratives about uncertain futures in financial markets.

Paper long abstract:

Understanding and anticipating market movements plays a critical role in current capitalist activity. Assessing the present and engaging in uncertain futures, financial market participants create financial opportunities. At the heart of this process is the work of financial analysts that claim to provide "thorough analyses" of current and future market movements.

In my paper, I describe how financial analysts establish valuation practices and strategies to predict future market movements. Based on ethnographic data collected during two years of fieldwork in the financial analysis department of an internationally operating bank, I illustrate how they combine calculative practices, culturally embedded interpretations and social interaction in order to come up with explanatory stories about current and future market movements. I argue that financial analysts produce these narratives in order to create a sense of agency for financial market participants whose action is surrounded by the uncertainty and instability of the market.

Panel P110
Anticipatory knowledge: prognostics and prophecy in management and governance
  Session 1