Ally Pyne’s Harold K. Schneider Honorable Mention

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“The ethnographic material drawn from interview data with sustainable finance investor/professionals was the strength of this paper – first rate fieldwork!”

Judge #2

Recently, one of our former Anthropology Major students submitted to the Harold K. Schneider student paper prize of the Society for Economic Anthropology. Her Paper was selected as the Honourable Mention entry in the undergraduate category.

See the Award-Winning Paper Details Below

Title: “Identity and the Crisis of Communication: Conversations with Bankers in Sustainable Finance”


We are currently facing twin climate and biodiversity crises. The problem in its current iteration has been positioned in growing connection to the financial industry. Given the newfound awareness of the linkage between finance and nature, social studies that center humans in sustainable finance are relatively few and far between. Seeking to deepen my understanding of the interconnections between financial markets and the environment, I set out to research sustainable finance programs at leading investment institutions. I found that the most notable delineation across the profiles of this study’s interlocutors centered around those who present sustainable finance primarily as a smart business opportunity (financial narratives), and those who present the burgeoning field primarily as a moral imperative (life story ideologies). These differing ideologies can be read as varying professional identities, which complicate pathways for advancement of their cause across the board. Within the sustainable finance movement, it appears that bankers and other finance professionals are at a crossroads, where differing conceptions of sustainability and value have been introduced to each other but are still not yet properly integrating with and influencing each other. The next phase of the sustainable finance movement requires actors who can integrate cross-industry, cross-disciplinary, and cross-cultural frameworks into avenues for new-age sustainability. 

Ally Pyne