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Peter Case and Peter Pelzer

It would be wrong to think that the banking sector is far removed from magical practices. Risk and risk management, which are at the heart of their business, are extremely complex and unpredictable. Risks are transformed into one-page reports, leading to ritual enactments that supposedly are able to purge them. Behind the calculations and figures, risks seem to vanish: they are exorcised, like a demon or a devilish appearance repelled by incantations. This chapter examines a set of rituals within the banking sector. The 2008 global financial crisis highlighted the limits of the risk calculations, yet little has changed with respect to the underlying approach to handling risk in the finance sector. Risk management is revealed less as a rational science than as an art of divination and the practical mastery of metis. The link drawn between magical arts and risk calculations implies a relationship that goes beyond the metaphorical suggesting, instead, that there is something fundamentally trans-historical and trans-culture about divination practices.

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Tuomo Peltonen, Hugo Gaggiotti and Peter Case

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Edited by Tuomo Peltonen, Hugo Gaggiotti and Peter Case

The origins of organizing are conventionally seen as emerging from the historiographical works of Western social scientists in the early 20th century. Here, the authors address a gap in current literature by exploring previously unrecognized or marginalized global origins in both modern and ancient history.