via the ICOS list; events are at the U of Michigan Business School.
Join ICOS this Friday for a talk by Daniel Beunza of the Columbia Business School. Beunza uses ethnographic techniques to explore how traders in financial markets calculate value in the face of fundamental uncertainty -- a timely topic, to say the least! Beunza is a leading contributor to
the social studies of finance, and has published papers in Organization Studies, Socio-Economic Review, and Industrial and Corporate Change.
Daniel Beunza, Columbia University
Presentation: "A Model is Not a Market: Promises and Pitfalls of
Time and Place: 1:30 (sharp) - 3 pm, Friday, October 24, K1320 School of
a small piece of the paper:
To explore the calculative dilemma faced by the arbitrageur we adopt an ethnographic research design. This approach is particularly useful to understand the day-to-day social and material practices of calculation. Ethnography places the researcher in the same uncertain position as his or her subjects, thereby avoiding the danger of underestimating uncertainty (Agar 1986; Spradley 1979). Its emphasis on practice taps into the actual solutions developed by the users, as opposed to those intended by the designer of the system (Orlikowski 1992; Barley 1986). Our study spans three years of observations at the equity derivatives trading room of pseudonymous International Securities, a large global investment bank with American headquarters on Wall Street. From this period, we selected a single morning of trading at the merger arbitrage desk. The combination of two years of observation with one full morning of data provides a high-frequency, highly contextualized account, in line with the literature in cognitive
science and distributed cognition (Hutchins 1995; Hutchins and Klausen 1992).