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 

• 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. 

Submission guidelines

Deadline for submissions is 1 April 2013. Papers must be in English. See http://www. for details about style and form. All submissions should be made online 
at the Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory ScholarOne Manuscripts site: 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: 

Jakob Bek-Thomsen, University of Aarhus, Denmark, email: (guest editor)
Christian Olaf Christiansen, University of Aarhus, Denmark, email: (guest 

Stefan Gaarsmand Jacobsen, University of Aarhus, Denmark, email: (guest 


One Response to “CFP: Special Issue on “Virtual Money””

  1. danielbeunza Says:

    Thanks Dan. Distinktion is a great journal, and I enjoyed the piece by Karin Knorr Cetina in it a few years ago.

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