On 25 July, Sebastian Möller presented his research on municipal derivatives at the 5th Global Conference on Economic Geography in Cologne. In his talk “The financialization of municipal debt: Local governments and the brave new world of derivative capitalism”, Sebastian summarized his empirical findings on debt management practices of Manchester (UK), Essen (DE) and Linz (AT) and discussed his analytical approach of tracing the micropolitics of local state financialization. The talk was part of a series of panels on the financialization of the state that Sebastian co-chaired with Laura Deruytter and Reijer Hendrikse from the Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels.
In February, Sebastian Botzem will present recent findings of his ongoing research on global financial elites at a conference on the repercussions of the financial crisis ten years after its outbreak in Darmstadt (Germany). The conference “Nachbeben. Zehn Jahre Finanzkrise und ihre Auswirkungen in Deutschland und Europa” is co-organized by the Schader Foundation and the Political Economy section of the German Assocaition for Political Science (DVPW). In his talk (23 February, 1pm), Sebastian will analyse the rise of transnational professional and advocacy associations as vastly invisible lobbyists since the crisis. The presentation will be part of a panel on changing actor constellations in global finance.
The full program of the conference can be found here.
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.
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”.
Together with Laura Deruytter and Reijer Hendrikse from the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Sebastain Möller is co-organizing a panel on the “Financialization of the State” at next year´s Global Conference on Economic Geography (GCEG 2018) in Cologne. The Call for Paper can be found here. Abstracts can be submitted until 15 March 2018.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.Comparing 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.
The 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.
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 School (AMBS). There, he will present a paper by Natalia Besedovsky and him on “Knowledge intermediation and the rise of boundary-spanning organizations in finance”.
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-spanningorganizations 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
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…
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.
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”).
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.Herbert 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.
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 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.
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 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.