The Legitimacy of Financial Profits

New Comparative and Historical Perspectives on the Dynamics of Financial Capitalism

Ten years after the credit crunch and eight years into the Euro crisis, social research is able to step back from immediate crisis dynamics and focus on the more general question how global financial capitalism and national (or regional) political and cultural structures interact. Our focus is the ques-tion of the legitimacy of financial markets and the value distribution within them. What is the role of civil society, public criticism or even political contestation for the fate of financial capitalism? While in times of crisis we often see a steep rise of public delegitimation of banks and investment firms in press and parliaments - sometimes even turning into full-fledged anti-capitalism - the rules and strategies of profit seeking in the financial sector have rarely been altered fundamentally. It is therefore interesting to empirically research and analyze how the public eye and the regulation of financial markets are linked. This includes research on the production of financial knowledge, the criticism of certain financial products, formal and informal restraints for specific behavior of market actors and sanctioning efforts, as well as public debates about the moral appropriateness of the forms of rationality and distribution patterns that emerge in and through finance. In this conference, we bring together sociologists, historians and political economists who, in their past and present work, have tackled the public legitimation of financial markets in different societies.
This is the concluding workshop of a three-year research project led by Sascha Münnich at the University of Göttingen, which has combined a historical-comparative institutionalist study of the legitimation of financial markets since the 19th century with a present-time interview-based study of civil society organizations (CSOs) engaged with financial critique in different European countries.

Location & Registration

Venue address: Hamburg Institute for Social Research (Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung) Mittelweg 36, 20148 Hamburg

Please register by sending an e-mail to: his(at)his-online(dot)de or to smuenni(at)gwdg(dot)de
Please register until January, 10th 2019
No admission fee applies. Note that the number of participants is limited due to venue capacity.


Prof. Dr. Sascha Münnich
Institute of Sociology, University of Göttingen
Platz der Göttinger Sieben 3, D-37073 Göttingen, Germany
E-Mail: sascha.muennich(at)sowi.uni-goettingen(dot)de

More information, programm included (PDF)