XClose

UCL Anthropology

Home
Menu

Kimberly Chong

Kimberly Chong photo

E-mail: kimberly.chong@ucl.ac.uk 

Lecturer in Anthropology

(2004) BA Economics and Sociology, University of Cambridge
(2006) MSc Social Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science
(2007) MRes Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science
(2012) PhD Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Kimberly’s research expertise covers financialization and the anthropology of finance, economic and political subjectivities, commensuration and techniques of valuation, corporate ethicizing, economic decision-making, and epistemologies of economics.

Based on 16 months ethnographic fieldwork inside the China arm of a global management consultancy, her first research project sought to develop an anthropology of financialization. Financialization is a term often used to denote the rise of shareholder value as a structuring logic of capitalism, and thus describe the changes to organizations in light of the increasing importance of finance. However, little has been said about the everyday practices and devices which enact such changes, or about how the experts implicated in financialization learn new corporate strategies and ways of implementing them. Her forthcoming book, Best Practice: Management Consulting and the Ethics of Financialization in China (Duke University Press, 2018), argues that management consulting is predicated on the creation of cultures of commensuration, through which new economic imperatives, forms of value, and power relations, are legitimated and naturalized as ‘best’. It reveals the dynamic and fragmented character of financialization when observed on the ground, and how discourses of Chinese state capitalism help to enact, rather than disrupt, financialization.

More recently Kimberly has carried out fieldwork of fund management conferences in the UK and interviewed traders to understand how financial agents make investment decisions under conditions of radical uncertainty. The research considers the role of emotions in decision-making, arguing that financial agents deal with uncertainty and problems of determining cause and effect in financial markets by creating ‘conviction narratives’ – the narrativising of events and technologies to create convincing, attractive, projections of the future which can impel economic action. 

Publications

(November 2018) Best Practice: Management Consulting and the Ethics of Financialization in China. Duke University Press.

(2015) Producing ‘Global’ Corporate Subjects in China: Management Consulting and Corporate Social Responsibility. Journal of Business Anthropology, 4(2): 320-341.

(2015) Performing Worth: Shareholder Value and Management Consulting in post-Mao China. In Moments of Valuation: Exploring Sites of Dissonance, edited by David Stark, Michael Hutter and Ariane Berthoin Antal. Oxford University Press.

(2015) ‘Constructing Conviction through Action and Narrative: How Money Managers Manage Uncertainty and the Consequences for Financial Market Functioning’. (1st author, co-authored with David Tuckett). Socio-Economic Review, 13(2): 309-330.