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Bankers in the dock: moral storytelling in action

Whittle, Andrea and Mueller, Frank 2012. Bankers in the dock: moral storytelling in action. Human Relations 65 (1) , pp. 111-139. 10.1177/0018726711423442

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This article draws on insights from a variety of fields, including discursive psychology, ethnomethodology, dramatism, rhetoric, ante-narrative analysis and conversation analysis, to examine the discursive devices employed in the storytelling surrounding the recent financial crisis. Discursive devices refer to the linguistic styles, phrases, tropes and figures of speech that, we propose, are central to the development of a compelling story. We focus our analysis on the moral stories constructed during a public hearing involving senior banking executives in the UK. The analysis suggests that two competing storylines were used by the bankers and their questioners to emplot the events preceding the financial crisis. We propose that a discursive devices approach contributes to the understanding of storytelling by highlighting the power of micro-linguistic tools in laying out the moral landscape of the story. We argue that the stories surrounding the financial crisis are important because they shaped how the crisis was made sense of and acted upon.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ante-narrative; discourse; discursive devices; financial crisis; sensemaking; storytelling
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0018-7267
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 22:29

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