New article in Global Policy

Sebastian Botzem, together with Sigrid Quack (University Duisburg-Essen) and Solomon Zori (Rotterdam School of Management), published an article on the adoption of international accounting standards in Africa in the journal Global Policy.

Their article “International Accounting Standards in Africa: Selective Recursivity for the ‘Happy Few?” is part of the current issue´s special section on “Recursivity in Transnational Governance” edited by Olga Malets and Sigrid Quack. The article discusses the lack of participation of African stakeholders in the standard-setting process as well as the conceptual mismatch between the standard-setter’s objectives on the one hand and the socio-economic, cultural and political conditions in many African countries.


Presentations at CBS

In mid-December, Sebastian Botzem and Sebastian Möller will participate in an international workshop on “Social Networks in Financial Production and Regulation” organized by Adam Leaver and Len Seabrooke and hosted by the Copenhagen Business School (CBS). This event will be a  follow-up of last year´s “Networks in Finance Workshop” at Manchester Business School. Sebastian Botzem will present latest findes from his research on the reconfiguration of global financial elites. His presentation “Elite Networks in Global Finance – Characteristics of the Financial Elite” is schedulded for Wednesday, 13 December, 2-3.30pm. On Thursday (10.45-12.15), Sebastian Möller will talk about “Debt Management & Creative Finance in City Hall: Modes and Networks of Intermediation Between Global Finance and Local Governments”.

DVPW conference in Bremen

This week, the International Relations section of the German Association for Political Science (DVPW) will gather for its open conference at the University of Bremen. From Wednesday to Friday, there will be lots of panels covering a broad variety of IR issues including International Political Economy and global finance. Members of our research group are participating in the conference. On Wednesday afternoon, Sebastian Botzem will present a paper on elite organization in global finance (3.15-4.45pm, Room SFG1040). On Friday morning, he will chair a panel on global finance in which Marcus Wolf and Sebastian Möller will jointly dicsuss four papers on financial governance (11.15-12.45, Room, SFG1030). More information on the confernce can be found here.

Presentation @EISA 2017

This week, Sebastian Botzem will present his ongoing research on the reconfiguration of the global financial elite at the 11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations in Barcelona, organized by the European International Studies Association (EISA). His presentation is titled “New kids on the block: The rise of private non-profit organizations in cross-border financial governance”. It is schedulded for Friday, 15 September, 4:45pm (room 40,008) and will be part of a panel on continuity and change in financial regulation chaired by Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn.

Seminar in Brussels

On September 7th, Sebastian Möller will be guest speaker at an EUFINGEO seminar on “The Financialization of the Local State” at COSMOPOLIS, the Centre for Urban Research at Vrije Universiteit Brussels. He will be presenting conceptual insights from his doctoral research on the transformation of local authority debt management and the use of interest rate derivatives. Moreover, Laura Deruytter and Reijer Hendrikse from COSMOPOLIS will contribute to the discussion on the financialization of state policies and institutions.

Marcus Wolf presenting in Athens & Berlin

Marcus Wolf will present his findings on the ascent of financial literacy education as a political project at two conferences. At the European Sociological Association (ESA) conference in Athens “(Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities” he will present a view on the changin narratives around financial education before and after the financial crisis.

At the Berlin conference of the International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy (IIPPE) he will present on the role of (behavioural) economists in the making of financial education.

Follow the Fees: Interview

The University of Innsbruck interviewed Leonhard Dobusch who has co-authored an article on the financialization of the European real estate sector with Sebastian Botzem. The article “Financialization as strategy: Accounting for inter-organizational value creation in the European real estate industry” will be published soon in “Accounting, Organizations and Society” and is already available online. In the brief interview (in German language), Leonhard presents core findings of the study that traces the stream of fees and the role of intermediaries in financialized real estate. The authors argue for a re-regulation of financial markets based on the issue of fees. The interview can be found here.

Presentation @SASE in Lyon

This Friday (30 June), Sebastian Botzem and Natialia Besedovsky will present a paper on “The Rise of Knowledge Intermediating Organizations in Global Financial Regulation” at the SASE conference in Lyon. In this paper, the authors apply a social network analysis approah to the study of changes within the global financial elite within and after the latest financial crisis. It summarizes some of the empirical findings and conceptional debates surround their common research project on the global financial elite. Moreover, Sebastian will be the discussant at Thursday´s panel on “Regulation and Governance in Emerging Economies”. This year´s conference theme is “What´s Next? Disruptive/Collaborative Economy or Business as Usual?”. The Society for the Advamcement of Socio-Economics (SASE) brings together scholars from sociology, political economy, management, political science and other fields interested in socio-economic dynamics.

Presentation at AESF in Paris

On June 9th, Marcus Wolf is going to present current findings from his ongoing PhD project at the “Association d’études sociales de la finance” (AESF), the French Social Studies of Finance Association in Paris. His presentation will be focussing on the OECD’s role in the promotion of financial literacy education and the narratives surrounding the ascent of this policy programme to the global stage. His talk will take place at the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (CNAM) – 2 rue de Conté, salle 31-2-87 (accès 31, 2ème étage, salle 87).


Presentation at AAG2017

On 8 April, Sebastian Möller will be presenting his research on municipal derivative deals across Europe at this year’s Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) in Boston. His presentation is titled “The financialization of municipal debt management: How did interest rate derivatives enter city hall” and will open a row of three panels on “Financialization as a State Project”, organized by Caroline Sage Ponder and Mikael Omstedt (both from the University of British Columbia). Manuel Aalbers (KU Leuven) will discuss the papers presented in the first two sessions. In Boston, there will be a range of panels and other events on the emerging field of financial geography, partly featured by the newly founded “Global Network on Financial Geography” (FinGeo). Sebastian receives a travel grant from the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD that allows him to take part in this excellent conference.


Marcus Wolf visiting researcher at Sciences Po

From February until April, Marcus Wolf will be visiting researcher at the Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris. Marcus will be hosted by the Centre de Sociologie des Organisations (CSO) and the MaxPo Center on Coping with Instability in Markets whose research focus lies at the intersection of political economy and economic sociology. During his stay he will be supervised by Jeanne Lazarus (CSO) and Olivier Godechot (MaxPo), researchers with interests in the sociology of credit and economic sociology respectively.

During his stay Marcus will conduct fieldwork at the OECD for his dissertation project on the politics of financial literacy education, collecting both information from interviews and visits at the OECD archive. He will also present his findings in the course of the MaxPo research colloquium.

His research stay is funded by a DAAD scholarship. The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) is a central agency of the institutions of higher education in the Federal Republic of Germany which organizes international academic exchange programmes.


maxpo     sciencespo

Sebastian Botzem presents research on financial elites

In December, Sebastian Botzem presented preliminary findings of the Global Financial Elites project at the “Networks in Finance” Workshop at the University of Manchester, organized by Adam Leaver and Daniel Tischer. The paper, co-authored by Natalia Besedovsky, investigates the dynamic development of the global financial elite network drawing on the GloFIELD database which includes the big players of finance and their connections to other organisations via personal links.20161208_095144Comparing the network structure over 25 years, Sebastian and Natalia find that organizational relations become more dense over time and that the global network changes notably after the financial crisis. In particular, regulators, international organisations, and the industry itself lose connectivity while private non-profit organisations like think tanks and professional associations move towards the core. In the 2013 network, for instance, the World Economic Forum (WEF) is the most centrally located organization . Interpreting networks as infrastructure of soft power relations and knowledge flows, these changes might indicate an increasing demand of sense-making, persuasion, and a need for reassurance after the crisis. Network structures also signal a renewal of the dominant self-regulatory pattern in financial governance. The rise of new actors in the financial elite network certainly merits further research.

20161208_100546The workshop brought together both renowned and emerging scholars from different disciplines interested in network structures and dynamics within global finance. Participants discussed the usefulness of network analysis in understanding financialization and structural changes in different financial sectors. A consensus emerged that social network analysis helps us a great deal in this respect since it enables the mapping of actor constellations over time and the connectedness of finance across sectors and borders. The workshop, however, also showed that network analysis does not replace the theorization of social relations and dynamic change in finance and ideally needs to triangulated with other methods.

Presentations in the UK

Within the next few weeks, members of the research group “Transnational Political Ordering in Global Finance” will present findings of their ongoing research at different occasions in the United Kingdom. Sebastian Botzem will participate in a workshop on “Networks in Finance” organized by Adam Leaver and Daniel Tischer at Alliance Manchester Business Salliance-mbs_logochool (AMBS). There, he will present a paper by Natalia Besedovsky and  him on “Knowledge intermediation and the rise of boundary-spanning organizations in finance”.

Already in November, Sebastian Möller will give a talk on his research about the financialization of municipal debt management at an AMBS PhD Seminar. Sebastian is currently visiting scholar at AMBS´s “People, Management and Organisation” (PMO) division. In early December, he will also present tentative findings of his UK field work on LOBO loans at a workshop at Newcastle´s Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) organized by Andy Pike and Peter O´Brien. Finally, Sebastian will give a seminar at the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) towards the end of his research stay in the UK.

  • 24/11/2016 (1pm, AMBS East, B2): Sebastian Möller – When finance knocks at city hall´s door: Derivatives and municipal debt management.
    AMBS PhD Seminar, University of Manchester (UoM)
  • 02/12/2016 (1.15pm, CURDS): Sebastian Möller – Global finance meets local politics: Derivatives and municipal debt management. Financialisation and local government workshop, University of Newcastle
  • 08/12/2016 (9am, Chancellors at UoM): Natalia Besedovsky & Sebastian Botzem – Changing Patterns in Global Finance: Knowledge intermediation and the rise of boundary-spanning organizations in finance. Networks in Finance Workshop, UoM
  • 14/12/2016 (4pm, ICOSS Boardroom): Sebastian Möller – When global finance knocks at city hall’s door: Derivatives and municipal debt management.
    SPERI Seminar, University of Sheffield


Summary of #YSW16

Young Scholars Workshop: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Global Finance
21-23 September 2016, University of Bremen

In September, the research group “Transnational Political Ordering in Global Finance” led by Sebastian Botzem has hosted a Young Scholars Workshop on the interdisciplinary study of finance at the University of Bremen. This event brought together 30 emerging academics from different universities, countries, and disciplinary backgrounds (including Political Science, IPE, Economic Sociology, Economics & Business Studies, Human Geography, and Economic History). Besides providing a platform for establishing international contacts among young scholars, the main goals of the workshop were to better understand the complexities of global finance and to discuss merits and constraints of interdisciplinary approaches to studying finance. Given the increasing relevance of finance, in both politics and everyday life, and finance’s susceptibility to crises, a more encompassing understanding of its dynamics is urgently required. In this respect, the three days of intense paper sessions, inspiring lectures and a concluding round table certainly provided new insights and ideas for the individual projects of the workshop participants as well as for a broader common research agenda on finance. Read more here

Find the respective twitter feed here.
Find the workshop program here.


Sebastian Möller guest at Manchester Business School

From October until mid-December, Sebastian Möller will be visiting researcher at the “People, Management and Organisations” department of the Alliance Manchester Business School (University of Manchester). During his research stay, Sebastian will be supervised by Julie Froud (Professor of Financial Innovation) and Adam Leaver (Professor in Financialization Analysis and Business). In Manchester, Sebastian will conduct fieldwork for his research project on municipal derivatives, exchange ideas with scholars and other PhD candidates at AMBS, and present tentative findings in a colloquium. Within his project, the LOBO loan engagement of the Manchester city council is a crucial case study. During his stay, Sebastian will conduct both expert interviews with financial professionals and public administrators as well as document and archival research. Sebastian was able to raise funding for his research stay from the BremenIDEA out program.


Marcus Wolf visiting researcher at Sciences Po

In October, Marcus Wolf will be visiting researcher at the Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris. Marcus will be hosted by the Centre de Sociologie des Organisations and the MaxPo Center on Coping with Instability in Markets whose research focus lies at the intersection of political economy and economic sociology. During his stay Marcus will conduct fieldwork at the OECD for his dissertation project on the politics of financial literacy education, collecting both information from interviews and visits at the OECD archive. Moreover, Marcus will present parts of his findings at the workshop “Réguler, conseiller, éduquer? Comment les politiques publiques encadrent-elles l’argent des ménages” (engl: How public policies frame the money of households) at the Centre de Sociologie des Organisations of Sciences Po Paris on 13th of October.

maxpo     sciencespo

Presentations at DGS Congress in Bamberg

On September 29, Natalia Besedovsky and Sebastian Botzem will present their current research on the global financial elite and the German council of economic experts at the 38th congress of the German Sociological Association (DGS) in Bamberg. Both will be panelists at the ad-hoc group on economic elites that will be chaired by Natalia and Saskia Freye. Natalia will talk about the ongoing project on transnational financial elites (“Finanzelite im Wandel? Eine transnationale Netzwerksanalyse”). Sebastian will present a paper on the influence of the economics profession examplified by the German council of economic experts (“Der Einfluss von Berufsökonomen am Beispiel des Sachverständigenrats zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung”).

Find out more about the panel here.



Presentations at the ISA Forum of Sociology in Vienna

In July, the members of the research group “Transnational Political Ordering in Global Finance” will present some preliminary findings of their projects at the 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology in Vienna. The Conference will take place at the campus of the University of Vienna. Our talks are scheduled as follows:


Sebastian Möller will be visiting researcher at ICAE Linz

In June, Sebastian Möller will be hosted for 3 weeks by the “Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy” (ICAE) at Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria) as a visiting researcher. This research institute was founded in 2009 in order to analyze causes and effects of the recent financial crisis with an interdisciplinary and pluralistic approach to economics. During his stay Sebastian will conduct fieldwork for his dissertation project “Global Finance & Local Budgets – Municipal Governments´ Engagement in the Derivatives Market and the Role of Transnational Service Firms”. Moreover, Sebastian will exchange ideas on empirical financial markets research with scholars from ICAE and participate in ICAE´s summer academy 2016 on globalization and transnational corporate power in the 21st century.


Workshop on Transnational Studies in Bremen

In May, the Center for Transantaional Studies (ZenTra) will host a workshop for PhD candidates and Post-Docs on empirical approaches to social science research on transnationalism. The workshop is organized by Sebastian Botzem (head of the research group “Transnational Political Ordering in Global Finance”), Moritz Renner and Céline Teney and will take place on May 26 at the University of Bremen. It aims at discussing methodological approaches to study transnational phenomena in the light of empirical research projects from the fields of sociology, legal studies, political science and economics. In particular, the workshop will address the question of what are appropriate units of analysis in transnational studies. Moreover, implications of different answers to this question for research design, analysis and interpretation will be discussed.

imagesAbstracts can be submitted until March 31. Find out more information here (in German language).

Presentations at the “Debt trails” Workshop in Budapest

In March, Marcus Wolf and Sebastian Möller will present short papers on their research projects at a workshop called “Debt trails: Mapping relations of debt and credit from evryday actors to global credit markets”. The workshop is organized by Paul Langley (Durham University) and Liz McFall (Open University) and will be hosted by ELTE University Budapest and the Journal of Cultural Economy. Marcus is going to present a paper on “Financial literacy education and the role of debtors and investors in financial regulation. Sebastian will talk about “Local governments & global finance: Municipal engagement in the derivatives market”. He receives the travel & accomodation grant for the workshop funded by ELTE University.

Update: You can find a brief report on the workshop on soziopolis (in German language) and a video recording of the joint keynote by Liz Mc Fall and Paul Langley on youtube.

Panel on quantification

At the symposium “End or return of history. Changes in the world society since the end of the Cold War”, held for the 20th anniversary of the Institute of Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS), Sebastian Botzem and Natalia Besodovsky contributed to a panel on the politics of quantification. In his introductory remarks, Klaus Schlichte, professor for International Relations at the InIIS, pointed out that quantification today is a wide-spread phenomenon: The world is increasingly interpreted through numbers and numerical targets (e.g. the Sustainable Development Goals and the famous two-degree-target regarding climate change) shape political discourse. The panel was comprised of scholars from sociology and political science.20151211_104434Herbert Kalthoff, professor for Sociology at the University of Mainz, described the omnipresence of numbers as a dynamic of a “quantifying and calculating society”. Processes of calculation fix and stabilize knowledge. Nevertheless, the meaning of numerical representations is often contested among practitioners and therefore needs to be continuously (re)constructed. The simplicity of numbers, often assumed by social science research and in particular in the natural sciences, thus has to be questioned. Numbers, quantification and calculation therefore, have to be studied in specific empirical contexts.

Natalia Besedovsky stressed that not the use of numbers in politics is new but the outsourcing of their production from the state to private actors. This can be highly problematic as in the case of credit rating agencies where the methods used to produce ratings gradually shifted away from the regulatory purpose intended by state agencies. The calculative practices that produce certain numbers therefore are highly relevant since they determine the way in which the numbers can be used politically.

Sebastian Botzem argued that although numbers often appear to be depoliticized, quantification is always political as it justifies management and enables political control. Moreover, quantification is guided by specific normative and theoretical assumptions predetermining the scope of political action. He illustrated these observations with the case of European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) that are currently introduced in order to harmonize budget management of public entities. Under EPSAS, markets (and market prices) become the central point of reference for political decision-making, limiting policies that are not in line with market logics.

Klaus Schlichte showed how quantification produces a representation of the world that becomes powerful in state bureaucracies. In the case of police work in Uganda, he showed how reported events are translated several times into written categories and numbers that inform policy-making and budgetary decisions. At the same time, budgeting and resource distribution cannot be understood by quantification alone as political loyalties and established practices play an important part in co-determining policy-making.

In the discussion it became clear that quantification is a relevant issue for political analysis and that more empirical research is needed to better understand quantification as a condition of bureaucratization on the one hand and effective governance of quantification as driver of marketization of politics on the other. After all, research and teaching can benefit from greater awareness of quantification at different political levels.

Presentations at the FESSUD annual conference in Lisbon

Marcus Wolf and Sebastian Möller will present papers on their individual research projects at this year´s annual conference of FESSUD (Financialisation, Economy, Society, Sustainable Development) “Impacts of Financialisation on Society, Environment and Economy” in Lisbon. Marcus will present a paper on the role of consumer organizations in post-crisis regulatory politics (“The Impact of Financialization on Political Agency – Consumer Organizations and their Role in Post-Crisis EU Consumer Regulation”). Sebastian will talk about the engagement of cities in the market for derivatives (“The Financialisation of Local Governance: Municipal Government´s Activities on Financial Markets”).

Sebastian Möller participates in Lucerne Master Class 2015

Sebastian Möller will participate in this year´s Master Class “Markets & Democracy” with Prof. Wolfgang Streeck at the University of Lucerne. The Lucerne Master Class 2015 enables doctoral students from Switzerland and from abroad to deepen their understandings of the relationship between markets and democracy and to go beyond common patterns of perception. Doctoral students will receive the opportunity to present their work to the other participants and to discuss it with Prof. Wolfgang Streeck.

During the week, Sebastian will present his research on the spread of financial market activities of municipal governments. In his dissertation project, Sebastian sets out to describe, compare, and understand the purchase of derivatives like interest rate swaps by local treasuries in different European countries. Particularly, he is interested in the the role of transnational service firms like banks, consultancies and law firms in the promotion and implementation of such activities. Since the adoption of financial market logics is likely to have considerable implications for local democracy, this topic can both contribute and benefit from the discussions at the workshop in Lucerne.

Presentation at the DVPW congress in Duisburg

Sebastian Botzem and Sebastian Möller will present a paper on power shifts in global finance at this year´s congress of the German Political Science Association (DVPW) in Duisburg on 22 September. They present findings on the changing represenation of the global south in selected public and private organizations of financial market regulation. Their presentation will be part of a panel on insecurities and power shifts in the global political economy organized by the DVPW´s Political Economy section. The talk will be in German language.

The full congress program is available here.

Sebastian Botzem reported at the European Parliament

The Role of the EU in International Economic Fora (Poster)The European Parliament is currently working on its own initiative report on “The EU role in the framework of international financial, monetary and regulatory institutions and bodies”. In this context, the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) has organized a workshop, which took place on 17th June 2015 in Brussels. The workshop’s aim was to provide ECON Members  with information and background on the current situation of EU representation in financial standard setting bodies within selected international entities.

Prof. Sebastian Botzem reported on the International Accounting Standards Board. International Financial Reporting Standards define the rules for corporate accounting and are set by a private standard setter: the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). The EU has no formal role in developing these standards, but de facto endorses them ex post. This raises questions with regard to the overrepresentation of commercial interests in accounting regulation and the need to debate a stronger role not only for civil society actors but also for public entities such as regulators.

You may find more infomation at the European Parliament`s website.

A video stream of the workshop is provided here.