Financial Risk-taking as a Sociological Gamble: Notes on the Development of a New Social Perspective

Galit Ailon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article attempts to bring into focus a sociological aspect of financialization that has evaded theoretical attention. Integrating the findings of a growing body of literature on the sociology of finance, it assembles evidence that financial markets entail a particular awareness of, and perspective on, the social. This perspective is characterized by three attributes: a 'reflexive social distancing' whereby financial actors observe social processes in the market in a socially attentive but self-detached way and through which they recognize financial market prices as socially constituted; a 'social forgetting' inherent in stochastic configurations and engagement with financial chance; and 'social dissociation' with regard to the outcomes and implications of financial decisions. Taken as a whole, these elements constitute 'financial risk-taking' as a type of 'sociological gamble'. The article discusses the importance of studying the social perspective inherent in financialization as a means of furthering our understanding of its character and implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606-621
Number of pages16
JournalSociology
Volume48
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • financial markets
  • financialization
  • gambling
  • social perspective

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