Reconceptualizing financial innovation: Frame, conjuncture and bricolage

Ewald Engelen, Ismail Erturk, Julie Froud, Adam Leaver, Karel Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article argues for a reconceptualization of financial innovation which, as culprit and victim of the current crisis, is now damned by those who once praised it. But what is financial innovation? The dominant answers from mainstream finance and social studies of finance share variations on a rationalistic view whereby financial innovation is about improving markets or at least extending the sphere of rational calculability. Because improvisation is more important than the dominant perspectives can admit, this article proposes a new concept of financial innovation whose three main elements - frame, conjuncture and bricolage - are indicated by the title of this article. The importance of this problem shift is that it highlights the inherent fragility of this type of intermediary-led financial innovation where things will often miscarry and highlights the need for a more radical rethinking about policy responses to the financial crisis that began in 2007. Copyright © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-63
Number of pages30
JournalEconomy and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


  • Bricolage
  • Conjuncture
  • Financial innovation
  • Financial markets
  • Financialized capitalism
  • Intermediaries


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