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Salvage Ethnography in the Financial SectorThe Path to Economic Crisis in Scotland$
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Jonathan Hearn

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780719087998

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719087998.001.0001

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Theory: explaining financial crisis and conceptualising capitalism

Theory: explaining financial crisis and conceptualising capitalism

(p.34) 3 Theory: explaining financial crisis and conceptualising capitalism
Salvage Ethnography in the Financial Sector

Jonathan Hearn

Manchester University Press

Building on the historical perspective of the previous chapter, this chapter begins by posing the basic questions ‘what is theory for?’. It argues that in the present case it is to situate the events under scrutiny within a hierarchy of more proximate and more general causes impinging on those events. Towards this end it first surveys a range of explanations that have been brought to bear on the post-2008 crisis, and then surveys a range more general theories of the long-term trajectory of capitalism. In both cases it suggests which theories and explanations are probably the most significant. It concludes by reflecting on the challenge of situating relatively small-scale ethnographic data within large historical explanations that seem to dwarf human agency.

Keywords:   Economic crises, Capitalism, Historical change, Human agency, Causation, Explanation

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