Cooling out the marks: the ideology and politics of the financial crisis

Jason Glynos, Robin P Klimecki, Hugh Willmott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
939 Downloads (Pure)


Why has the financial crisis not led to more radical public contestation and political reforms? In investigating the muted response to the crisis so far, the paper highlights the significance of ideological fantasy for appreciating the interpenetration of economy and society. We interpret the lack of resistance to how the crisis as an exercise in ‘cooling out’ (Goffman) underpinned by a restorative fantasmatic narrative. The ‘enjoyment’ derived from scapegoating individual bankers has reinforced passivity and narrowed the debate. By investigating a range of media and policy responses to the meltdown, we conclude that the pre-credit crunch ideology of ‘no more boom and bust’ has been replaced by an equally ideological narrative that promises a re-normalization of processes of financialization. This allows for the preservation of key elements of neo-liberalist capitalism as well as the dismissal of alternative projects. The paper shows how, exemplified by the establishment and operation of United Kingdom Financial Investments Ltd (UKFI), the post-crisis ideology continues to shield financial markets from public scrutiny and intervention
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-320
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Cultural Economy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

Bibliographical note

Best Paper Award at the Critical Management Division of the Academy of Management Conference, 2011, San Antonio


  • Ervin Goffman, Financial Crisis, Ideological Fantasy, United Kingdom Financial Investments (UKFI)


Dive into the research topics of 'Cooling out the marks: the ideology and politics of the financial crisis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this