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School of Business and Management

School Research Seminar Series - Towards An Aesthetics of Risk

7 March 2012

Time: 4:00 - 6:00pm
Venue: FB4.04/08 Francis Bancroft Building, 4th Floor, Mile End Campus

School Research Seminar Series – Wednesday 24th April 2013



Dr Peter Pelzer

Dr Peter Pelzer has studied economics, with an emphasis on planning and organisation, and philosophy, in Wuppertal, Germany. He spent most of his professional life working in and for banks, currently as an independent consultant. He is also visiting professor at the University for Humanistics, Utrecht, The Netherlands. He is very much interested in understanding the processes he experiences during his projects beyond the textbook knowledge of organisation and management theory. His work is published in journals like Human Relations, Organization Studies, Organization or Culture and Organization. His book "Risk, Risk Management and regulation in the Banking Industry: The Risk to Come" is published in 2012.

Seminar Title
Towards an aesthetics of risk

Risk is fascinating. At least a certain kind of people is drawn into risky behaviour. The assumption is that risk has an aesthetic value, that parts of its fascination can be interpreted by the aesthetical concept of the sublime. Which insights can be won when judging the actors in the trading rooms from an exclusively aesthetic perspective? Is there something sublime in investment banking, and, if yes, what can that be? With the use of ethnographic material from different sources collected on trading floors it can be demonstrated that the sublime goes beyond any rational risk management. At the same time the different structure of risk taking on the trading floor implies a decisive difference to the philosophical concept of the sublime which makes it ever more attractive for those who have the opportunity to take the risk. It is adequate to speak of risk in this sphere as a sublime simulacrum. Looking at the sublime aspects of risk, so the assumption here, is a necessary contribution to the discussion on risk and risk management to critically evaluate chances of risk management and regulation in the financial industry.

Chaired by Dr Rowland Curtis

Research themes
(please only choose three maximum from below, delete
the rest as appropriate): Globalisation; Innovation;  Networks and

Additional information
- Seminar lunch in The Kitchen at 12:30pm
- The seminar will run from 13:00 to 14:00pm (suggested: 50 minute talk and 10 minute Q&A)

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