Neutralising Deviance: The Legitimation of Harm and the Culture of Finance in the City of London

Alexander Simpson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


This chapter draws on overarching themes that emerged out of an ethnographic study of harm and deviance in the City of London's financial services industry. Taken from my PhD thesis, the findings consider issues of morality and justice in the organisation of economic life. In the context of widening material, social and economic inequality, the project asked, how economic agents within the financial services industry actively [re]produce a culturally embedded and dominant system of market behaviour? This led to three key findings; [1] an ethnographic understanding of the City of London as a bounded enclave of wealth, privilege and success, organised around a self-serving set of rule-systems and cultural practices; [2] the ways in which individual financial actors internalise the market through the legitimising capital of speed, intelligence and discipline; [3] how financial action, as a set of social arrangements, tapers individual notions of social responsibility by exalting the monetary unit and neutralising the production of social harm.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmerging Voices: Critical Social Research by European Group Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers
EditorsSamantha Fletcher, Holly White
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherEG Press
ISBN (Print)9781911439097
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


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