Culture, Materiality, Memory: Collective Ownership and Action In Romanian Mutual Funds

Narcis TULBURE, PhD Student (e-mail:
Bucharest University of Economic Studies


The paper presents the tensions between collectivist and corporatist forms of ownership for Romanian mutual funds. Drawing on my research among retail investors of funds that ended up in bankruptcy throughout the postsocialist period, I document the material practices and graphic artefacts they deploy in litigation as ways to make claims and produce evidence regarding their ongoing financial involvement and the rights to compensations. I focus specifically on the files documenting their personal histories (providing moral reasons for pursuing “speculative” investments) as well as those materializing the memory of their involvement with the capital market. I conclude that material practices are constitutive of vernacular forms of financial and legal knowledge. Furthermore, they engender specific types of property that serve as premises for the defense of investor rights and as grounds for emerging forms of collective action. Methodologically, the conclusion of the paper is that qualitative methods constitute alternative approaches and a valuable complement of quantitate research methods for the behaviors of mutual fund investors illustrating some of the cultural components giving specific dynamics to the popular participation to the capital market that can be subsequently quantified.

Keywords: mutual funds, ownership, memory, culture and finance

JEL Classification: G28, K11, Z10

[Full Text]

Romanian Statistical Review 4/2015