Finance and Society

Module description

This module sets out to look at finance in relation to a broad range of social issues mainly from the perspective of the sociology of finance. The issues are selected for interest and are intended to promote debate. The main background reading will be from a small number of recommended books and articles but students will be expected to read more widely and to review the treatment of finance in at least one book. Students will be expected to lead at least one seminar with an introduction to one or more books recommended for review.

This module is open to any final year undergraduate student.

Full module specification

Module title:Finance and Society
Module code:BEM3045
Module level:3
Academic year:2016/7
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Michael Rowlinson - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:

7.5

Pre-requisites:

None

Co-requisites:

None

Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:

11

Module aims

The aim of the module is to encourage students to think about finance in a broader social context and from a variety of perspectives. To facilitate this, wide and diverse reading is encouraged, and students are expected to lead seminars.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. explain different perceptions of finance in society
  • 2. evaluate the role of finance in its broader social context
  • 3. assess perceptions of finance in a variety of media including the financial press, art, and in particular fiction

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. identify and explain perceptions of financial management and decision-making from a variety of traditions and perspectives

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. select and synthesize appropriate material from a range of sources (both academic and popular)
  • 6. analyse, communicate and present ideas, principles and evidence that support a reasoned and consistent argument

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
271230

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Schedule Learning and Teaching22Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching5Seminars
Guided Independent Study32Preparatory reading - reading prior to taught sessions
Guided Independent Study32Reflecion and futher reading - guided reading and completion of exercises
Guided Independent Study59Assignment preparation - researching and writing an assignment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar DiscussionHour-long seminars1-5Verbal from tutor

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
30700

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay302,0001-3, 6Written individual
Exam702 hours1-6Generic on ELE

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay301-3, 6August Examination Period
Exam701-6August

Re-assessment notes

If the student fails the module overall, only individual elements which have been failed/deferred will be assessed.

Syllabus plan

The core content of the module will include:

  • The Sociology of Finance - modern finance looks and sounds like the Great Oz from The Wizard of Oz; sociologists are always trying to find ways to look behind the curtain.
  • Economics - are financial markets efficient? Or is the efficient market hypothesis performative? Do you have to believe in efficient markets to work in finance?
  • Markets - what do financial markets do? Where can they be found? What is it like to work in one?
  • Politics - do financial institutions have too much influence in politics? How many politicians have connections with the finance sector?
  • Crises - how is the global financial crisis 2008 remembered? Who really suffered from the global financial crisis of 2008? Should anyone still be punished for it?
  • Class - how does the ideal of meritocracy fit with the observation that the smartness of investment bankers is represented by their default upper-classness, maleness, whiteness, and straightness?
  • Gender - is investing essentially a masculine or a feminine activity? Are women essentially more risk averse than men? If they are, what are the business implications of having only a small minority of women in senior positions in finance?
  • Inequality - is the finance sector to blame for increasing levels of inequality in society?
  • Financialization - why is it that financial motives, markets, and institutions play an increasing role in our personal lives, society, and the economy?
  • City of London - how important is the finance sector for London and the UK? Are international financial centers such as London destined to decline with the rise of electronic networks and trading that can supposedly be carried out anywhere in the world?

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Augar, P. (2008). The death of gentlemanly capitalism: the rise and fall of London's investment banks: London: Penguin.

Knorr Cetina, K., & Preda, A. (2012). The Oxford handbook of the sociology of finance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lanchester, J. (2014). How to Speak Money. London: Faber & Faber.

Luyenndijk, J. (2015). Swimming with sharks: My journey into the world of bankers. London: Guardian Books / Faber & Faber.

Shiller, R. J. (2013). Finance and the good society. Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Tett, G. (2009). Fool's Gold: how the bold dream of a small tribe at J.P. Morgan was corrupted by Wall Street greed and unleashed a catastrophe. New York: Free Press.

Toynbee, P., & Walker, D. (2008). Unjust rewards: Exposing greed and inequality in Britain today. London: Granta.

Walsh, J. P. (2009). Are US CEOs Overpaid? A Partial Response to Kaplan. Academy of Management Perspectives, 23(1): 73-75.

Module has an active ELE page?

Yes

Origin date

01/02/2016

Last revision date

01/02/2016