The anthropology of financial intent

Paul Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Much has been learned about calculation, commodification and marketization from the socialstudies of markets and finance. But what of capitalization? What is distinctive about this modeof valuation and the reality it impels? What does it mean to live under the ‘asset condition'? InCapitalization: A Cultural Guide, Fabian Muniesa and his colleagues at the Centre deSociologie de l'Innovation take us on a tour across multiple continents and several centuries,introducing us to capitalization as a ‘cultural syndrome'. Their pragmatist enquiry involvestracing capitalization via the scenarios in which value is created, and the gaze that stimulatessuch value-creation. The result is a field guide to the terrain of capitalization that integratesanthropological work on the dramaturgy of finance with sociological attention to thetechnicalities of valuation. The stage is set for further investigation into the uneven distributionof the capacity to capitalize and its consequences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalFinance and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 UK: Scotland License.


  • Capitalization
  • asset condition
  • ethnography of finance


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