Financial Crisis and Systemic Risks: Towards an Economic Sociology of the Crisis'
Department of Sociology University of Bielefeld Bielefeld, Germany
The Subprime-Crisis has led to a discursive change. With the collapse of the American mortgage market, monetarist ideas were invalidated and replaced by revived Keynesianism. The current attempt to revive the economy by stimulus packages and state interventions, including the quasi-nationalisation of vulnerable banks signals this discursive change. In this contribution I nevertheless argue that the subprime crisis does not only require a better understanding of hedge funds, rating agencies and the employment of derivates and complex financial instruments, but that it also raises more conceptual issues concerning the notion of systemic risk. Presently, the current debate on how to reform global finance is based on a concept of stability, which perpetuates central monetarist ideas that foreclose further inquiries as to how the discursive change can translate into a renegotiation over the current institutional order. For an institutional alternative to the current monetarist-based system, it is necessary that there is a different concept of stability that is open to the complex and evolutionary conditions of finance; and the political and social preconditions of financial practices.