Money at Work: On the Job with Priests, Poker Players and Hedge Fund Traders

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NYU Press, Jul 16, 2012 - Social Science - 279 pages
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Financial advisors, poker players, hedge fund traders, fund-raisers, sports agents, credit counselors and commissioned salespeople all deal with one central concern in their jobs: money. In Money at Work, Kevin Delaney explores how we think about money and, particularly, how our jobs influence that thinking. By spotlighting people for whom money is the focus of their work, Delaney illuminates how the daily practices experienced in different jobs create distinct ways of thinking and talking about money and how occupations and their work cultures carry important symbolic, material, and practical messages about money.

Delaney takes us deep inside the cultures of these ‘moneyed’ workers, using both interviews and first-hand observations of many of these occupations. From hedge fund trading rooms in New York, to poker players at work in Las Vegas casinos, to a “Christian money retreat” in a monastery in rural Pennsylvania, Delaney illustrates how the underlying economic conditions of various occupations and careers produce what he calls “money cultures,” or ways of understanding the meaning of money, which in turn shape one’s economic outlook. Key to this is how some professionals, such as debt counselors, think very differently than say poker players in their regard to money—Delaney argues that it is the structure of these professions themselves that in turn influences monetary attitudes. Fundamentally, Money at Work shows that what people do for a living has a profound effect on how people conceive of money both at work and in their home lives, making clear the connections between the economic and the social, shedding light on some of our most basic values. At a time when conversations about money are increasingly important, Delaney shows that we do not merely learn our attitudes toward money in childhood, but we also learn important money lessons from the work that we do.


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Thinking about Money
1 Money at Work
Hedge Fund Traders and Poker Players
Commission Salespeople and Sports and Entertainment Agents
Fund Raisers and Grant Givers
Investment Advisors and Debt Counselors
Religious Clergy
Experimenting with Currency Prices and Salaries
8 Money Cultures at Work and Beyond
Methodological Appendix
About the Author

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About the author (2012)

Kevin J. Delaney is Professor of Sociology and Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs in the College of Liberal Arts at Temple University and author of Strategic Bankruptcy and Public Dollars, Private Stadiums.

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