An inquiry into our relationship with financial markets

In a business administration dissertation from Linnaeus University, Martin Holgersson studies what it means to live in a modern society during a finance capitalism era.

“Today, our lives and what we do are increasingly intertwined with financial markets, making it difficult to entirely avoid things like stock and fund investments, bank loans, premium pension choices, financial and business news, interest rate fluctuations, insurance solutions, and bank apps for your smartphone, etc. This has made me interested in trying to find out what this means for us as human beings”, says Martin Holgersson.

“The relationship between our lives and financial markets appear to be more and more present, intense, and crucial – more or less everyone can be said to have a relation to the phenomenon, which for many is characterized by uncertainty and insecurity”, Holgersson continues.

“The heart of the interpretation in my dissertation is made up of an observation study at a savings fair that took place at Globen in Stockholm. The many thousand participants seemed to unite around the theme how to make more money from your money. After having tried out a couple of different interpretations of the event, I compare it to a divine service – a ritual. The religious simile work as kind of a catalyst and I argue that also our relationship with financial markets can be understood as an enchanted relationship, characterized by a conception of the world and an ethics framework – a teaching – that one is expected to follow and live by”, Holgersson explains.

“One thing that I stress is that it seems that we are not dealing with a disenchanted and rational world free from dogmas and perceptions of faith. Quite the contrary, my interpretation can be understood as it being part of the human nature to always praise something as sacred, and that growing capital and the perception of society’s progress fill this role today”, says Holgersson.

“The insecurity that seems to characterize our relationship with financial markets, as I see it, is linked not only to disinterest, lack of knowledge, or inability to handle financial matters. Instead, I suggest that this insecurity can be understood as doubt concerning the life and the requirements that one more or less have to adapt to in order to be able to live like one ‘is supposed to’”, Holgersson continues

Martin Holgersson’s dissertation is written in Swedish and in a, for social sciences, unconventional way:

“I’ve always tried to write and reason in a captivating and slightly different way from how researchers normally do it. I get my inspiration from a number of different genres and disciplines in an attempt to create a challenging and meaningful knowledge about the financial spirit that permeates society and our lives today”, Holgersson concludes.

Dissertation title: Finans och Existens: Tolkning av vardagslivets finansialisering [Being and finance: Financialization of everyday life – An interpretation]

Link to dissertation (only in Swedish)


Martin Holgersson, +46470-76 75 20,

Carian Sörgårn, communications officer research, +46470-70 85 52,