2008 volume 40(9) pages 2097 – 2113

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Buttle M, 2008, "Diverse economies and the negotiations and practices of ethical finance: the case of Charity Bank" Environment and Planning A 40(9) 2097 – 2113

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Diverse economies and the negotiations and practices of ethical finance: the case of Charity Bank

Martin Buttle

Received 4 October 2006; in revised form 9 February 2007

Abstract. This paper draws on the emerging literature on diverse economies to analyse the everyday practices in a new type of finance organisation. Social finance organisations (SFOs), on the one hand, provide a mechanism for ‘ethical’ investors to invest money in line with their values and, on the other, provide loan finance sensitive to the needs of a variety of charities, and social enterprise and civil society organisations which have traditionally found access to finance difficult. They work through a mode of operation which emphasises partnership, reconnection, and association between stakeholders. Furthermore, social finance practitioners have developed a series of negotiation strategies for balancing social concerns with financial ones. The paper argues that there remain few analyses from inside organisations trying to practise economic relations differently. It demonstrates how theoretical debates on economic – social relationships are expressed on a day-to-day basis. The paper develops the concept of a sociofinancial narrative to highlight how social and financial organisational logics are hybridised within SFOs. This leads to a discussion on the integration of ethics into economic practice, in the context of neoliberalism as well as the entanglement of analysing alternatives through an ethnographic lens.

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