Theodore Park

PhD Student, Department of Anthropology

An accidental consultant or over-prepared student, since the start of my academic career I’ve been engaged in the question of how professional domains and work more generally interact with ethics. Now my PhD research centers on wealth management in Northern Italy. I deal with a particular oddity. Finance is central to modern life. But it is primarily considered as ‘ethical’ when it involves judging investments against a moral code which seeks to limit environmental impact or encourage certain kinds of socially-impactful businesses. I explore alternative ways of conceptualizing finance as a domain of ethics. To do this, I look at the ways in which legislation passed by the European Union and the Italian government, as well as variations in discourse and institutional structure, affect wealth managers’ conceptions of good and bad in the context of their daily work. The ethnographic component of this study pivots this to an even more poignant question - are the goods pursued at work, at home, and at church, by wealth managers, different goods? This is an incitement to reflection not just for wealth mangers but for all of us. What matters? How does one decide between the competing goods that emerge in the context of life, and what potential role can work play in that? These questions belong to all of us.

Geography Focus: 
Western Europe
Thematic Focus: 
Period Focus: