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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article argues that arbitrage — how it is practiced, its risks, its uncertainties, its limits, and its capacities to weld markets together into a financial system — can properly be understood only if it is grasped in its full materiality and sociality. That kind of rich, qualitative understanding differs from the more abstract but quantitatively more precise understanding typically sought by economists, even ‘behavioural finance’ specialists. Nevertheless, there are areas of overlap between a ‘social studies of finance’ perspective and financial economists' investigation of the consequences of relaxing their discipline's traditional purist definition of arbitrage.

Keywords: arbitage, financial system, materiality, sociality

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