The Spectacle of Expertise : Why Financial Analysts Perform in the Media

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Financial experts have become ubiquitous on television, radio, and social media. They provide investment advice, interpret market movements, and explain the implications of political events, wielding a great deal of power and influence through their media presence. How do these experts acquire their authority, and what makes displays of financial expertise persuasive to their audiences?

Alex Preda provides an ethnographic exploration of how financial expertise is performed and produced in the media, analyzing its features and how audiences react to it. He examines how analysts, anchors, and producers collaborate in manufacturing financial talk that circulates around the world. Preda emphasizes the significance of talk—as opposed to the written word—in finance, as the fabric of many transactions and a means of capturing capital. Analysts and media figures understand financial talk as requiring a skill set distinct from conducting research or representing facts. Preda demonstrates that analysts and media professionals deploy expertise when they engage with audiences in ways that make it difficult to contest the claims conveyed in their talk.

The Spectacle of Expertise is based on close observations of TV and radio studios in Hong Kong, a global financial center and a crucial gateway to China, including interviews with audience members and financial analysts who appear as regular guests. It offers new and global perspectives on the relationship between financial expertise and the media, the making of public-expert talk, and how expertise is used to legitimize financialization.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherColumbia University Press
Number of pages272
ISBN (Electronic)9780231554572
ISBN (Print)9780231202466, 9780231202473
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


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