Money and Borders (by Mariana Santos and David Bassens)

– Mariana Santos and David Bassens –

The constitutive importance of space to money and financial relations and practices has been widely documented by financial geographers of multiple theoretical inspirations. Taking critical stock of this bourgeoning field, our paper proposes an analytic of ‘borders’ as productive way to engage with the various entanglements between money and space/s.

Rather than entering conceptual controversies on the term, ‘border’ is here used writ-large, as useful heuristic device to disentangle, yet hold in analytical tension, multiple modes of money and finance dealing in borders, processes of bordering and de-bordering, but also multiple forms of boundary making and re-making, inclusion and exclusion, fringes and frontiers. This means of course paying attention to the geopolitical borders and regulatory spaces, showing how global finance is rooted in the contemporary architecture of states and international relations. But it means also attending to how lines in this cartographical space of geopolitical borders are rearranged, stretched, inflected through multiple ways in which finance “takes place” and connects specific sites more than others. Within and across geopolitical borders, finance demands and materializes differential forms of connectivity, from networked financial centres to the indebted bodies in so-called subprime areas.

This is thus a reading where the ‘plumbing and wiring’ underpinning the seemingly frictionless global space of finance is always in critical tension with its margins, edges and fringes, not simply as risky, or ‘unbanked’, but as sites where bodies, monetary practices and social forms are constantly targeted and refigured as new frontier markets awaiting novel forms of accumulation.

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