Money

MONEY

Convenors: Philipp Degens, Department for Co-operative Studies, University of Cologne, Germany, & Dr Simon Derpmann, Philosophy Department, University of Münster, Germany

There is a rediscovery of money as a subject of social theory that began in the 1990s and that has been invigorated by debates over the future of financial capitalism since the 2008 crisis. Of course, few people ever doubted the fundamental role of money in the development of markets and capitalist society. However, money was widely left to economic theory, whose primary concern was the inclusion of its effects into models of market exchange, private investment or state finance. Even though influential accounts – such as Marx’s idea of the money fetish or Simmel’s account of the abstract objectivity of money and its cultural implications – reflected on the social nature of money, they remained disconnected from the mainstream conception of money within economic thought. The question of the nature and meaning of money reentered the debate primarily via sociology through authors like Zelizer, Dodd, Ganßmann, and Ingham, or anthropologists like Hart and Graeber. These accounts inquire into the constitution of money as a commodity, a promise, or the relation of debt and credit. An understanding of money on this level is crucial to estimating its social, political and moral significance. In continuation of previous MANCEPT workshops aiming at “thinking the economy” this workshop proposes to inquire into the social nature of money.

Along these lines, the workshop is meant to provide an opportunity for discussing a wide range of questions with regard to the political, social and philosophical understanding of money. Among the questions that it poses are: How do social relations constitute money? In what regards does the diversification of monetary forms (including alternative monies like Bitcoin or local currencies) change our understanding of money? How does money affect social relations? What are the moral problems of the expansion of the money economy? What practical arguments can be brought forward to regulate the utilization of money? Are there alternatives to the present institution of money?

We invite abstracts of less than 500 words that address these questions. We welcome contributions – also work in progress – from political theory, sociology, and philosophy, or other related fields. Please send us your proposal by June 1st, 2014 (philipp.degens@uni-koeln.de and simon.derpmann@uni-muenster.de).