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Sociology: Research


Social Studies of Finance

The “social studies of finance” is the application of social science disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, human geography, gender studies, socio-legal studies, and science and technology studies to the study of financial markets. This multidisciplinary area is one of increasing research interest, particularly in the wake of recent financial crises.  


Although finance traditionally has been the domain of economics, understanding the various forces shaping the performance of contemporary financial markets requires the use of a variety of intellectual perspectives from across the social sciences. The "social studies of finance" is a multidisciplinary community of scholars working to understand the social, political and technical factors shaping the contemporary practice of finance.

Scholars working within social studies of finance have shown, for instance, that financial valuation and exchange are performed by individuals socialised into distinct cultures of practice, while economic information is often shared within well-defined networks of market practitioners who know each personally. Technical elements that at first glance seem unimportant, such as the popularity of particular financial models, the design of information infrastructures, and the structure of legal and regulatory frameworks, all play a crucial role in shaping the performance and stability of financial markets.

Since the founding of the Social Studies of Finance Association in Paris in 2000, the field has developed into a diverse network of scholars from around the world. Since then, the University of Edinburgh has established itself as a leading institution for research and graduate education in this new and exciting field.

Masthead Image: Frankfurt Stock Exchange / Creative Commons