LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.
Precis: "This dissertation chapter explains the transformation of the American financial landscape during the 1980s as a process of organizing that involved strategic action by financial institutions, regulators, and politicians. The Banking Act of 1933 established categorical distinctions among depository institutions by compartmentalizing financial services and instituting price controls to moderate competition. As macroeconomic conditions necessary to maintain this arrangement began deteriorating in the 1960s, legislative responses altered the foundation of organizational identities by changing permitted investment activities and deposit ceilings. I show how banks, thrifts, and regulators contended for control over the framing of market change, reassembling elements of older narratives and organizational forms to confront uncertainty and find a new basis for market order. Both banks and thrifts marshaled the myth of the American homeowner and small saver as a basis for moral argumentation. This account of field formation contrasts with traditional explorations of strategic action fields by exploring not only how market actors attempt to change the rules of the game that shape market structure and forms of competition, but how available strategies are patterned by attendant changes in understandings of organizational identity."
Sophia Li is a PhD student in Sociology. Her work focuses on regulation, organizational change, and the morality of markets. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Statistics and Economics (with honors) from the University of Chicago.