Theses Doctoral

Songs of Profit, Songs of Loss: Private Equity Investing in New York City

Souleles, Daniel S.

This dissertation is an ethnographic description of the process by which private equity investors buy, manage, and sell companies for profit, all while private equity, as an industry, manages around $3.5 trillion of capital. Drawing from data gathered from the summer of 2012 through fall of 2014, this dissertation offers an account of investing that diverges from other ethnographic cases in that it relies on ongoing conversations about value and time that investors have, which seek to justify the decisions investors make. Once I explain how investors find and create value as well as the opportune time to invest, I explain how this negotiation fits into a stereotyped, formalized deal process, which acts like a total social fact in rearranging people and wealth in social life. I ultimately suggest that this approach to explaining the action of private equity investors has a broader use in rendering other financial capitalists ethnographically comparable to private equity investors, as well as in rendering other societal distributions of wealth and poverty comparable to that which exists in the contemporary United States.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Anthropology
Thesis Advisors
D'Altroy, Terence N.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 28, 2015