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Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (a John Hope Franklin Center Book) by [Karen Ho]

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Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (a John Hope Franklin Center Book) Kindle Edition

4.2 4.2 out of 5 stars 106 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The timely question, What caused the current global financial crisis? provokes answers usually aimed at the level of institutions and the more abstract market logic. Ho's refreshing ethnography of the daily lives of Wall Street investment bankers takes another tack and outlines a web of practices, beliefs and structures that may be vital to understanding what keeps the market system in place despite built-in instabilities. Ho, a former business analyst and now an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota, unpacks constant downsizing, high risk/high reward job liquidity, shortsighted compensation structures, prestige and the ruse of shareholder value. Her keen eye for the significance of space illuminates workplace narratives, e.g., segregating staff by floor, function and prestige; constant and lavish recruiting events at Princeton and Harvard; and anticlimactically tawdry office space for most workers. The author exposes how elite undergraduates are immersed in a culture promoting finance as the only legitimate job, how educational pedigrees reinforce the financial world's self-image—while the actual jobs remain rigidly hierarchical (stratifying women, people of color and non–Ivy League graduates), highly unstable and isolating, encouraging a culture in which making money is the only value. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to the paperback edition.


Liquidated is a must-read book for anyone interested in how legions of recruits from Ivy League colleges come to espouse and enact the twisted bundle of class interests and market ideology that constitutes neoliberal capitalism.” -- Kathryn Dudley ― American Studies

Liquidated is an interesting description of many of the practices and orientations that exist in large investment banks, one that confirms what the reader may suspect: that these institutions are forcing-grounds for the sort of hubris and invulnerability that goes with the phrase ‘Masters of the Universe’, the incomprehensible money that sales staff receive, and the idea that they are ‘doing God’s work’. It also, however, indicates the reverse of the strength of the social studies of finance. Liquidated may help explain why those in investment banks think and operate in the ways that they do.” -- James G. Carrier ― Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“[A] unique portrait of the industry that asks pertinent questions about constant change, job insecurity, and the banker’s identity. . . .
Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street asks many questions that those who work in the investment field should ask themselves. . . . Although many in the financial industry will not agree with Ho’s hypotheses and conclusions, they will be challenged by the questions she raises and enthralled by the body of fieldwork she presents.” -- Janet J. Mangano ― Financial Analysts Journal

“Ho’s refreshing ethnography of the daily lives of Wall Street investment bankers . . . outlines a web of practices, beliefs and structures that may be vital to understanding what keeps the market system in place despite built-in instabilities.” ―
Publishers Weekly

“Ho's study shows the intense competitiveness that is instilled in these primarily Ivy League recruits even before they are finished with their Bachelor's degrees. And she examines the myth that stockowners and companies are best served by maximizing shareholder profits. If anything, this book gives faces to the people who work in that abstract entity called Wall Street that seems to affect our world so much of late. I highly recommend it, especially if you have no idea how the world of high finance operates.” -- James Franco ―
Huffington Post

“The book contains many wonderful insights, and is a veritable mine of quotations from Wall Street participants. . . . The book is, moreover, extremely well written throughout . . . . [A]n informed and informative text.” -- Brett Christophers ―
Environment and Planning A

“[E]ngaging and hard to put down. . . Karen Ho’s book is a must-read for anyone contemplating joining one of the major global banks. . . . Actually, even faculty of our elite schools are starting to question why so many of their graduates end up in finance. Karen Ho’s book should be required reading for students and faculty at these schools.” -- Ben Lorica ―
Quant Network

“After several decades when anthropologists at last overcame their inhibitions concerning the study of money, Karen Ho’s book . . . seems to mark a coming of age for the contemporary discipline. . . . The intelligence of its author shines through
Liquidated. . . . I found it rewarding to read and reflect on, a landmark in the burgeoning anthropology of money.” -- Keith Hart ― American Ethnologist

“Although written for a mostly academic audience, the book becomes easily digestible because of the summaries Ho adds in each section. She connects well the main theme throughout any areas of the book. Ho’s views should not be considered ‘anti-Wall Street’ but viewed as an analysis of Wall Street’s effect on the American community and the financial markets. This book should be read by Wall Street investment bankers and corporate managers to better understand the social values and responsibilities of corporations and the role that they play in the American community.” -- Linda Kee-Koa ―
International Examiner

“Karen Ho has picked an excellent time to publish her fascinating new study . . . of Wall Street banks. . . . As field-sites go, Wall Street is not classic anthropological territory: ethnographers typically work in remote, third-world societies. . . . Ho nevertheless embarked on her study in classic anthropological manner: by blending into the background, listening intently, in a non-judgmental way – and then trying to join up the dots to get a ‘holistic’ picture of how the culture works. That patient ethnographic analysis has produced a fascinating portrait that will be refreshingly novel to most bankers.” -- Gillian Tett ―
Financial Times

“Karen Ho is my hero. . . . Her ethnography of investment bankers in the late 1990s,
Liquidated, depicts the bravado, callousness, and contradictions that are the hallmarks of investment banking culture.” -- Mitchel Y. Abolafia ― American Journal of Sociology

“The book’s great strength lies in Ho’s careful observation of the means by which people succeed or fail on Wall Street, as she punctures many of the assumptions about how markets work.” -- Keir Martin ―
TLS --This text refers to the paperback edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B00EHNU5R4
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Duke University Press Books; Illustrated edition (July 13, 2009)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ July 13, 2009
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 2671 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 392 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 4.2 out of 5 stars 106 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
106 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 12, 2010
18 people found this helpful
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 7, 2013
One person found this helpful

Top reviews from other countries

Dirk vom Lehn
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent ethnography.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 3, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful Book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 18, 2011
3 people found this helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 30, 2014
2.0 out of 5 stars 記述は詳細だが、理論がダメ
Reviewed in Japan 🇯🇵 on October 17, 2013
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