Financial securitization was heralded by orthodox economists to reduce societal risk through novel forms and techniques of risk management. It is all the more perplexing then, how a celebrated model of risk optimization can itself pose an unexpected threa t to a few distant municipalities in the North of Norway, a bank in Britain with no direct links to the United States and a major investment bank on Wall Street - to name only a few casualties, all of which have suffered huge losses as a consequence of a number of American mortgage holders defaulting on their debt during the year 2007
With citizens and public and private institutions around the world affected by the infrastructure of financial securitization, it becomes clear that global financial risk de mands a new interdisciplinary understanding as a concern for societal security. Beyond the long-discussed questions of the degree of regulation of the financial market we need to open a lager debate on the ambiguous concept of financial security. Adding t o the complexity of the subject is the fact that risk does not carry a purely negative connotation in the operation of the financial market, and security not a purely positive one: the market system critically depends on a measure of uncertainty, where ri sk has a normative (neo-liberal) function of ensuring competition and efficiency. Framing financial risk as a security issue will hence also critically engage with the concept of societal security.
The proposed project will bring together academic researc hers from different relevant disciplines and international institutions with decision-making practitioners and regulators in three workshops to be held during the period 2009-2010.