Recently, Naked Capitalism reported a London study entitled Bankers-Anthropological Study (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/14/bankers-anthrop...). In it the Dutch anthropologist Joris Luyendijk indicates that while bankers are widely reviled, he is finding them to be very human and that he is beginning to almost like them. Of course, this is a common occurrence for ethnographers and their subjects, though not always in reverse. At the very least, the anthropologist admires their energy and the long hours they put in handling accounts in the financial world.
While I encourage urban anthropology and ethnographies on subjects other than tribal peoples, I have some reservations about this study. Does a window into the human side of the men who engage in Casino Capitalism at its core make the detrimental effects of their activities any more palatable? What I have read of the study so far seems very light ethnography, bordering on journalism and the journalist seems intent of presenting a feel-good story rather than delving into the shenanigans in the heart of the beast. Let’s hope we see some of that in the final ethnographic monograph.