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Mary Douglas Memorial Lecture 2016

28 April 2016

The 3rd Mary Douglas Memorial Lecture will be held on Wednesday 25 May at 6pm in the Archaeology Lecture Theatre, UCL Anthropology, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW, followed by a drinks reception.

How BOFIs (Banks and Other Financial Institutions) Think

Dr Michael Thompson
International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis

Michael Thompson

Conventional diagnoses of the Global Financial Crisis see it as "abnormal", and then resort to explanations in terms of "irrational exuberance", "animal spirits", "herding behaviour" and so on. The prescription - "better regulation" - follows automatically, as it has done after every such crisis, all the way back to tulipmania 400 years ago. But if there are different "seasons of risk", and if financial sector actors are able to latch onto different risk-handling strategies, each appropriate to one of those seasons and inappropriate to others, then we have a very different explanation. This is a simple and bold hypothesis - one that has its roots in Mary Douglas's How Institutions Think, and Purity and Danger. The lecture will show how it is well-supported by historical evidence,agent-based modelling, and fieldwork among both BOFIs and their regulators, as well as by parallels from ecology, organisation theory and evolutionary economics.

The annual lecture is sponsored by: UCL Anthropology, Oxford University School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography, Royal Anthropological Institute.

All welcome to this free public lecture.

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