Studies on the regulation of financial activities often recognize a dichotomy between financial entrepreneurs and financial regulators, following Miller’s 1986 seminal article. However, such a clear-cut position raises questions about the ability of this ‘endless symbolic tennis game’(Millo, 2007: 211) to take on board the subtle nuances of financial market development. This chapter follows another intuition, looking at situations where the description of the financial world cannot be taken at face value or seen as a black-and-white picture. Acknowledging this intuition means assuming that even for financial actors, describing financial objects can prove challenging (Muniesa, 2009; Muniesa et al., 2011). Shifting from objects to practices, we find the same set of issues, especially when the subject is focused not on macro-prudential equilibria (systemic risk), but rather on the daily routines unfolding in financial firms and markets. These routines are generally described in policies and procedures offering a frame for the materialization of regulations: located ‘between knowing and acting’(Callon, 2002: 212), procedures provide operators with guides for development of their practical expertise, and help to shape actions as they develop. More specifically, procedures help operators to get rid of ambiguities generated by the fact that practices are embedded in changing contexts: as such, they can be seen as cognitive prostheses facilitating the operators’situated performance.
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