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Framing FinanceThe Boundaries of Markets and Modern Capitalism$
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Alex Preda

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226679310

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226679334.001.0001

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(p.213) Chapter Eight Panic!
Framing Finance

Alex Preda

University of Chicago Press

This chapter investigates how the notion of panic crystallizes in representations of the market and how it affects the hierarchy of speculators. The charismatic features of the latter cannot withstand crowd movements like panic. One of the major contradictions at the boundaries of markets appears to be the same as that between an individualism grounded in a vitalistic notion of force and the crowd's stampede. The chapter explores how the notion of (financial) panic, emerging almost simultaneously in economic and psychiatric writings, deals with this contradiction. It also examines how representations of panic—from the media, for instance—are used by market participants to make sense of their own actions. Based on a reconstruction of actual practices, the chapter argues that such representations should be understood as material observational tools, which help dispersed actors to see their situations as identical or similar.

Keywords:   hierarchy of speculators, financial panic, market participants, boundaries of markets, individualism, economic writing, psychiatric writing

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