Financialization of valuation and public policies

This blog presents the events, publications and ongoing research that are inscribed into a broader research project led by Ève Chiapello, who is Research Professor (Directrice d’Études) at EHESS (Paris) and works on the transformations of capitalism.  The blog will be used to disseminate research, activities and publications made by herself and a broader network she has started to build (doctoral students, master students and colleagues).

Among other activities, Ève Chiapello is leading an international project called “Financialisation and the fabrication of intangible assets as responses to the problems of contemporary capitalism” funded by the Humbolt Foundation (started in 2016 and is planned to last until 2021) in collaboration with the University of Hamburg.  This project investigates the responses that are given to the current crises of capitalism. Three crises are identified, that are interrelated: an economic and social crisis; a welfare state crisis; an environmental crisis. The project explores in particular the knowledge, know-how, problem identification and problem-solving methods of finance professionals that underlie the reform plans and systems devised in response to the three crises.
Financialisation is defined as a specific process – that can be described and follows specific rules -, for transforming the world, objects, organisations and the problems we encounter by practices, theories and instruments that originated in the financial sector and are now being used to reassess questions that are theoretically far removed from that world (social, environmental, educational and cultural questions).
The research project revolves around three axes. The first axis studies the reforms that are supposed to answer the economic and social crisis; it includes the emergence of a cognitive capitalism and a knowledge economy shaped by state reforms. The second axis explores the responses that are brought to the welfare state crisis, with for example the development of impact investing and new forms of philanthropy. The third axis investigates the responses to the environmental crisis, including carbon finance, and projects aiming to measure and value the services rendered by biodiversity. The emergence of new objects characterizes these three axes; these new objects are called “intangible assets”.

The fabrication of intangible assets can not be reduced to market extensions. It relies on the organisation of financing circuits. The research project will develop a sociology of these circuits. It will also identify the initiatives that are proposed to address these crises of capitalism, as well as their supporting actors.

Thank to the organization of international workshops in 2017 and 2018, in Hamburg, in cooperation with Anita Engels and Lisa Knoll, from Hamburg University, we hope to develop an international network and aim at establishing this blog as one of its primary means of communication.

Diverse research actions will be publicized on the blog:
– Articles, books and contributions written by Ève Chiapello and other participants linked to the project (already existing writings and others that will be produced in the upcoming years);
– The seminar on financialisation that is organized every year at EHESS and that will be enriched in the coming years with the invitation of international researchers;
– The doctoral researches that are relevant to the project, especially those supervised by members of the network ;
– Information about the international workshops organized by the network.