Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London

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University of Chicago Press, Nov 1, 2006 - Business & Economics - 224 pages
2 Reviews

From New York to Singapore, from Chicago to London, the trading floors of the world’s financial markets are icons of global capitalism. Images of them are used on the news all the time—traders burying their heads in their hands when the market is down, their arms flailing in a frenzy when fortunes are rising—to convey the current state of the economy. But these marketplaces, and the cultural life that sustains them, are dissolving into the ether of the digital age: powerful financial institutions are shutting down the trading pits, replacing face-to-face exchanges with an electronic network where traders sit, face to screen, finger to mouse, and compete in a global arena made up of digits and charts. 

Out of the Pits considers the implications of this sea change for everyone involved, from the traders and brokers to the market as a whole. Caitlin Zaloom takes us down to the floor at the Chicago Board of Trade and into a digital dealing room in the City of London. Drawing on her own firsthand experiences as a clerk and a trader and on her unusual access to these key sites of global finance, she explainshow changes at the world’s leading financial exchanges have transformed economic cultures and the craft of speculation; how people and places are responding to the digital transition; how traders are remaking themselves to compete in the contemporary marketplace; and how brokers, business managers, and software designers are collaborating to build new financial markets. 

A penetrating and richly detailed account of how cities, culture, and technology shape everyday life in the new global economy, Out of the Pits will be must reading for business buffs or anyone who has ever wondered how financial markets work.

  

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Review: Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London

User Review  - Peter - Goodreads

I envy Caitlyn Zaloom. She started an ethnographic study of commodity futures traders at the Chicago Board of Trade right before the Board switched from open-outcry to electronic trading. It's hard to ... Read full review

Review: Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London

User Review  - Chris - Goodreads

A good ethnograpgy and i find her work on "emboding practice" is good but like most of Rabinow's students she moves from Foucault and Weber forgetting Marx and the fact that both theorists (Foucault ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION Finance from the Floor
1
CHAPTER ONE Materials of the Market
15
CHAPTER TWO Trapped in the Pits
51
CHAPTER THREE Social Experiments in London Markets
73
CHAPTER FOUR The Work of Risk
93
CHAPTER FIVE Economic Men
111
CHAPTER SIX The Discipline of the Speculator
127
CHAPTER SEVEN Ambiguous Numbers
141
CONCLUSION Practical Experiments
161
NOTES
179
BIBLIOGRAPHY
207
INDEX
217
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About the author (2006)

Caitlin Zaloom is a cultural anthropologist and assistant professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. Her research on traders and technology has been featured in the New York Times and on the BBC.

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