CFP: Special Issue on “Virtual Money”
February 26, 2013
Dear Soc Financers,
Christian Olaf Christiansen asked me to pass along this call for papers for a special issue of the journal Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory on “Virtual Money.” A description is below.
Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory invites papers for a special issue on ‘Virtual Money’ to be published in April 2014.
The prevalent perception about money today is as a practical and neutral means of circulation which allows other things (sale/purchase) to function. This utilitarian definition of money dominates in the wider population and among many scholars, and is not least substantiated by the historical abstraction of money where the evolution of exchange objects has changed from everyday material objects, to coins, to credit notes and now to digits on a screen or information stored on a card or a computer. Money now seems to have conclusively separated itself from its embedding in specific historical and national cultures and its grounding in material production. The rise of global finance markets and the digitalization of money seem to have ‘liberated’ money from its non-monetary connotations. Money is now increasingly becoming virtual. Virtual money is a summation of three independent yet related developments: the globalization of finance; the immaterialization of value and wealth production; and the digitalization of money.
Zeros and ones seem appropriate expressions of a global capitalism which in its financing, production, distribution and consumption disembeds itself from national or local contexts and becomes as space-less as financial markets become timeless. An OECD-report from 2002, The Future of Money, described the history of money as a destined journey towards an ever-stronger separation from physical expression and material grounding. This long history of money culminates in the post-history of virtual money. The ‘liberation’ of money seems to be followed by the perception that money is now pure rationality. As City of London analyst, Terry Smith, once said: ‘Cash is fact. Everything else is opinion’. Though this utilitarian perception is not entirely unchallenged, it remains hegemonic and appears to be enacted by consumers and citizens.
This special issue of Distinktion invites scholars from all fields to address the production of public
perceptions about money. We particularly invite papers that discuss the intellectual production of
knowledge and concepts of virtual money and the translation of these ideas into conventions of
thought and practice, i.e. how virtual money as a both practical phenomenon and political and
economic discourse might express certain surplus meanings that provide a doorway to understanding how consumers and citizens relate to the public and personal economies; how
perceptions of self and others are changing, etc. Possible topics include:
• Virtuality as money form and life form.
• New forms of money, such as internet game money, and their interrelation with the ‘real’ economy and consequences for social practices.
• Genealogical studies of the emergence of the idea of virtual money through such terms as the ‘weightless economy’, ‘new money’, ‘liquid finance’, etc.
• The idea of virtual money as the ultimate expression of economic rationality as expounded by ‘public economic intellectuals’ such as economists, bankers and others explaining the economy and its demands to the public.
• The use of the virtual money form as a critical template to analyse and criticize the current economy.
• The socialities of virtual money, e.g. how the value of money, virtual money included, essentially derives from socially constructed confidence.
• Virtual money as real, symbolic and imaginary forms.
• The spirituality of virtual money.
Deadline for submissions is 1 April 2013. Papers must be in English. See http://www. tandf.co.uk/journals/rdis/ for details about style and form. All submissions should be made online at the Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory ScholarOne Manuscripts site: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rdis. All submitted papers will be evaluated by the Editors, and publication decisions will be based on a double-blind peer-review process. Any papers which may be accepted but will not be included in the special issue will be published in an ordinary issue at a later point in time. The editors are happy to receive inquiries by email.
Editors of this special issue
Mikkel Thorup, University of Aarhus, Denmark, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jakob Bek-Thomsen, University of Aarhus, Denmark, email: email@example.com (guest editor)
Christian Olaf Christiansen, University of Aarhus, Denmark, email: firstname.lastname@example.org (guest editor)
Stefan Gaarsmand Jacobsen, University of Aarhus, Denmark, email: email@example.com (guest editor)