In February, students taking The Anthropology of Business module spent the day discussing the history of finance in the City of London. Students visited critical financial powerhouses such as Rothschild’s, Lloyds Bank, the Bank of England, Guildhall, the stock exchange and the coffee shops were much trading of equities, bonds and commodities began.
The day ended with a sit-down visit with the CEO and founder of a hedge fund that specialises in culture-driven opportunities and claims to focus on global equities that have positive earnings stemming from their own diversity and inclusion mandate. The module convenor, Dr Daniela Peluso, Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology, stated, “I am in awe of our students: they ask such poignant and challenging questions. For instance, they were quite sceptical about how terms such as ‘ethnicity’ were being bandied about without qualification and whether or not diversity meant the lowest levels of the workforce or the Board of directors. The speakers all commented on this and one asked me ‘Where did you get such bright students – when the business schools and economists come here they don’t ask anything close to the relevant questions we are hearing here today?’ My answer, of course, is because we are looking at businesses and the economy from a broad, anthropological approach.”
Finance is part of our everyday lives and understanding its past and present is a critical part of our ability to assess reality.