Performing Capital: Toward a Cultural Economy of Popular and Global Finance: Rob Aitken
Palgrave Macmillan | ISBN: 140397733X | October 2, 2007 | PDF (OCR) | 256 pages | 2258 KB
In much of the critical tradition in political economy, capital - financial or otherwise - is depicted as a 'monstrous' or already-existing kind of structure. This books reviews a form of capital—'popular finance'—which exists in a much different way from the common depictions in political economy. This book argues that programs of ‘popular finance’ are important, as a site at which capital is visible not as a macro-structural reality but as a category itself which needs to be made and performed often in the spaces where is does not already exist. In order to pursue this kind of analysis, particular attention is paid to the ways in which ‘culture’ has been used as a way to intervene into everyday kinds of spaces and to develop a form of capital within those spaces. This cultural economy, in turn, facilitates a certain critical strategy and mode of critique. I argue that, unlike analyses which tend to mystify finance and the financial world, training attention to capital in these cultural and everyday contexts facilitates a genealogy of capital which can purposely make capital visible as a heterogeneous and ‘de-centered’ kind of category; a category in which ‘we’ ourselves are deeply implicated.
Shortlisted for the International Political Economy Group book prize 2008
"Rob Aitken's work will leave readers in little doubt that 'finance capital' is not some coherent and extra-ordinary force that occupies a unique place outside of 'real' political-economic life, but is precariously assembled and visualised through the mundane performances of saving and self-government. Conceptually incisive and empirically rich, Performing Capital is essential reading for political economists and for all who are concerned with financial markets and the power of Wall Street"
--Paul Langley, author of World Financial Orders and The Everyday Life of Global Finance
"This is a wonderful account of the constitution of global finance in diverse spaces of everyday life. It is perhaps the first volume to take seriously the importance of visual culture to the history of finance. This book is an important addition to the growing literature on the interdisciplinary study of financial practice--and a good read!"
--Dr Marieke de Goede, Department of European Studies, University of Amsterdam
About the Author(s)
Rob Aitken is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta. His research interests lie at the intersection of International Political Economy and Cultural Studies. His research focuses on the globalization of finance, the culture of everyday economic spaces and the relationship between governmentality and the making of economic space.
Table of Contents
PART I: PERFORMING CAPITAL
Performing Capital: An Introduction
Culture, Government, Capital
PART II: POPULAR FINANCE AND THE NATIONAL BODY
Geopolitics, Nation and Beyond: Performances of Security
'A Vital Force': Popular Finance and the National Economy
PART III: POPULAR FINANCE, OWNERSHIP AND ECONOMICS OF INVESTMENT
'A Direct Personal Stake': Mass Investment and the New York Stock Exchange
'An Owner's Sense of Interest': The Ethics of Socially Responsible Investing
'In Free-Enterprise...Free Is a Verb': Enterprise, Saving and Asset-Based Social Policy
Toward a Cultural Economy of Popular and Global Finance
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