Warwick Critical Finance Group Newsletter

February 6, 2019

News from the Midlands

Greetings all,

We hope you have had a good start into 2019. There are many things we would like to share with you. But first things first: We are organising another workshop! This time, we will be joining forces with Goldmiths' Political Economy Research Centre (PERC) to debate new approaches at the cutting edge of critical macro-finance. So please have a look. This might just be the thing for you!

What else have we been up to? We held our second WCF Dialogue with Eve Chiapello and Pauline Gleadle in December, had another event with Jacqueline Best in January, and will be joined by Daniela Gabor in March for a conversation. We also went to several conferences and even got published! Finally, we have looked out for Call for Papers to share with you. All this you will find below.

Thank you for reading and best wishes,

Fabian, Johannes, Marco, Ruben and Sahil

Upcoming: Early Career Researcher Workshop on Critical Macro-Finance

We are back with a new workshop in 2019! Warwick Critical Finance has teamed up with the Political Economy Research Centre (PERC) at Goldsmiths to organise a two-day workshop for early career researchers on the topic of critical macro-finance. It will take place 9-10 September 2019 at Goldsmiths, University of London.

A decade after the 2008 financial crisis, new political economic imaginaries have emerged to make sense of our financialised world. As the work of scholars such as Adam Tooze and Daniela Gabor has shown, critical macro-finance is one of the most important of these trends. It has shed light on the infrastructure of contemporary global finance, the links between shadow banking, money markets and monetary policy, and the evolving governance architecture established in the wreckage of the crash. This work can seem obtuse and technical at first and in the domain of (heterodox) economics rather than broader political economy traditions. Yet it has important implications for how we understand the categories of ‘state’, ‘market’, ‘governance’ and ‘power’ in the contemporary world.

We want to discuss the basic methods of critical macro-finance analysis and debate its uses and misuses for understanding the political economy of global finance. And we seek to break fresh ground for a conversation between critical macro-finance and existing debates and approaches in political economy research.
For more information and our Call for Papers, please visit our eventpage.

When Liquidity Kills You Quick: Introducing the Money View. WCF in conversation with Daniela Gabor

We are looking forward to getting into conversation with one of the main protagonists of critical macro-finance in March. Daniela Gabor is Professor of Economics and Macro-Finance at UWE Bristol and she will join us for a conversation about novel perspectives for studying finance and its transformations, which propose a balance-sheet centric approach to help shedding light on and demystifying the technicalities of finance that often render it opaque. For instance, 'the Money View', which is receiving much attention in political economy research on finance, lately.

Whilst clearly an important new tool for Early Career Scholars, many important questions arise from these perspectives. How can we better integrate them with other lines of work? How can we use them to address the contingency of finance? Should we historicise the Money View rather than treating it as a purely technical analytical lens? How can we use the Money View to narrate processes of financialisation or the politics of global finance, to speak to financialisation and IPE scholars?

As a pioneering scholar of the Money View in political economy, Daniela is the ideal person to have these conversations with. And we are delighted to learn from her insights!

Wednesday 6 March 2019, 2.30-3.30 pm, S1.66 (Social Science Building) at the University of Warwick.

More information

Previous Event: 'Follow your interest or follow the field? How (not) to leap between research interests'. WCF in Conversation with Jacqueline Best

Here is a dilemma: Most of us early careers are expected to build our academic reputation in a particular topic or field which suggests specialisation with a narrow theoretical or empirical focus. But what if our curiosity shifts, and we start to be interested in topics or debates that are not necessarily related to our previous field? What if we want to bridge approaches across disciplines?

On 17 January, we were lucky enough to get into conversation with Jacqueline Best, Professor at the University of Ottawa, about this considerable challenge. Jacqueline is an internationally acclaimed political economist who has published on an astounding variety of topics, ranging from the roles of ambiguity and transparency in global finance, to the role of culture in Political Economy and the politics of failure in global governance. That is to say, she has been able to turn the dilemma above into a highly successful career.

So, though clearly at a different stage of her career, it was good to hear from such an established scholar that there are compromises we all have to strike and to listen in on how she tried to figure them out for herself!

More information

Recording of WCF Dialogue available: 'Operationalisations of Financialisation'

In December last year, we hosted our second WCF-Dialogue. Ève Chiapello (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris) and Pauline Gleadle (University of Westminster, London) discussed various ways in which (not) to use financialisation as a concept, today.

Missed it? You can find a short summary of the event as well as an audio recording of the talk and the Q&A on iTunes and on our website.

Call for Papers:

1. ‘Pledge: An interdisciplinary workshop on the history and politics of a persistent security device’ at the University of Marburg, 21-22 November 2019.

The two-day workshop will explore historical and contemporary forms of the pledge as a uniquely cross-disciplinary tool and practice of security. Casting a wide net, this workshop aims to take a first step towards a cross-sectional account of the history and politics of the pledge and its continuing relevance today. This workshop is organised by Nina Boy (Warwick) and Christian Wenzel (Marburg), inviting contributions from across the humanities, history, law and the social sciences.

The deadline for abstract submissions (300-400w) is 15 February 2019, with notification of acceptance sent out by 1 March 2019. For more information, see:

2. 1st FinGeo Global Conference 2019 ‘Global Financial Shift? Mapping a Financialized World in Transformation’ at Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, 15-18 September 2019.

The FinGeo Global Conference 2019 will bring together researchers from geography, finance, economics, sociology, political science, urban studies, business studies, public policy and other disciplines from all over the world, to share research on new developments in the world of finance and their impacts on economy, society and environment at different scales, from local to global. The organisers also welcome practitioners and policy makers to join the event. The conference aims at providing a platform for dialogue on the cutting-edge concepts, theories, methods and practices that can inform our understanding of the financialized world we live in.

Submission deadlines for session proposals and individual abstracts are 28 February 2019 and 30 April 2019, respectively. For more information, see:

WCF on Paper 2018:

1.  ‘A Responsibility to Profit? Social Impact Bonds as a Form of Humanitarian Finance’ (New Political Science).

In his first academic article, WCF member Marco Andreu looks at so-called social impact bonds (SIBs) which are geared towards funding social interventions while earning financial returns. The article proposes to conceive of SIBs as a practice of contemporary humanitarianism. In an effort to trace the politics of such 'humanitarian finance', the article analyses a SIB that sought to improve outcomes for homeless persons in London. It argues that, instead of relying on sentimental stories, the project was animated by a results-oriented, technocratic culture geared at solving social problems (rather than just alleviating suffering). Its mode of reasoning, however, directed attention to highly vulnerable individuals – and away from the structural conditions that perpetuate poverty. At the same time, the scheme reworked exclusionary constellations 'from within'. Thus, such humanitarian finance simultaneously performs a relation of inequality and a relation of assistance. Marco's article makes the case for an on-going engagement with both dynamics.

The piece was published in New Political Science and you can access it here.

2. 'Managers, not markets' (New Political Economy).

In a new article co-authored with Samuel Knafo, Richard Lane, and Steffan Wyn-Jones WCF member Sahil Dutta explores the relationship between managerialism and neoliberalism. Usually subsumed under a functional reading of neoliberalism, managerialism has too often been understood simply as a means for neoliberal ends (i.e. to promote market rule or competition). The paper challenges this perspective on the grounds that it conflates practices that stem from two different historical lineages. As the authors show, managerial governance not only has a very different history than neoliberal theory, but it also rests on different principles. Its development can be traced back to the US defence sector in the 1950s and the pivotal role of the RAND Corporation. On the basis of this historical perspective, the authors argue for the need to analyse managerialism on its own terms and make the case for considering the rise of managerial science as a paradigmatic shift in governance. In doing so, the authors show how managerial governance represented a radical rupture from previous management practices and show how it profoundly reshaped how we have come to understand governance. 

This article was published in New Political Economy and you can access it here.

WCF on Tour in 2018

Next to organising several talks and our 'writeshop' we were also busy presenting our work at your events. Here are the events we visited in 2018:

  • BISA Annual Conference, Bath, UK (a whole WCF-organised panel);
  • Critical Finance Studies Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden;
  • How to Conceptualise Financialisation in Developing and Emerging Economies?, Cambridge, UK;
  • Futures of Finance and Society Conference, Edinburgh, UK;
  • Money, Debt and Innovation, Brighton, UK;
  • Numismatic Day, Warwick, UK;
  • 'Understanding the Belt & Road Initiative' Conference, Beijing, China;
  • WINIR Conference 2018, Hong Kong.
We look forward to also meeting you at conferences in 2019 and continuing conversations over money, finance, and markets with you.


6 March 2019: WCF in conversation
When liquidity kills you quick: Introducing the Money View
with Daniela Gabor.

9-10 September 2019: WCF Workshop
Critical Macro-Finance in cooperation with PERC, Goldsmiths.


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Warwick Critical Finance Group · Department of Politics and International Studies · University of Warwick · Coventry, CV4 7AL · United Kingdom

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