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Capitalism in Crisis


Call for Papers: Association of American Geographers ( AAG ) Annual Meeting 2013, Los Angeles April 9 -13th

Finance and the Realization of Value in the “Social Factory”

Co-organized by Mark Kear (Simon Fraser University) and Lana Swartz (University of Southern California)

Session Overview

This session explores the changing role of money and finance in the realization of value outside traditional sites of production, and through social processes and activities not historically associated with value production. Over the last three decades geographers have documented dramatic transformations in the nature of labor in affluent capitalist states. These transformations have been attended by a growth in insecure, casualized, and irregular employment; a blurring of work and non-work time as well as a rise in the prominence of “entrepreneurial,” “affective,” “creative” and “immaterial” labour. Italian autonomists (e.g. Hardt and Negri 2010, Marazzi 2011, Vecellone 2007) argue that these shifts in the nature of work have dispersed and decentralized the valorization process to a point where ‘the whole society is placed at the disposal of profit’ (Negri, 1989: 79 cited in Gill and Pratt 2007) – turning society into a “social factory” for the production of value. This “real subsumption of society under capital,” however, creates challenges for the regulation of productive processes and the realization of value created beyond the “factory gate.”

With these challenges in mind, we hope to explore how innovations in payments systems, banking, financial analytics and credit scoring products as well as other financial apparatuses (e.g. loan products, mobile apps, transaction services, etc.) enable the capitalization and regulation of diffuse value producing activity (in the home, online, etc.), and help capture surpluses produced through such activity. According to Hardt and Negri (2009: 289) “only finance is able to oversee and compel the flexibility, mobility and precariousness of biopolitical labor-power;” however, the specific financial devices (Muniesa, Millo and Callon 2007) and mechanisms through which everyday activities and forms of sociality are rendered sources of economic value remain largely unstudied.

The current efforts of financial institutions, state regulators and consumer advocates to build a more “inclusive” financial system, develop new products, and harness new data sources, promise to produce new “spaces” into which financial markets can expand and “empower” the excluded. Some of these efforts lay new infrastructures of value transfer and production, while others work to privatize and “ride the rails” of public systems (Maurer 2012). We hope this session will facilitate a rewarding and critical discussion about this post-subprime crisis future of financialization – its vectors, contradictions, geographies, and targets for resistance.

Possible paper topics and themes include:

– Money and payment infrastructures

– Financial empowerment, financial inclusion and financial citizenship

– Behavioral finance, financial education and financial subject formation

– Geographies of transactional finance

– Biocapitalism / cognitive capitalism

– South-to-north policy transfer / finance and the “bottom of the pyramid”

– Asset-based welfare and neoliberalization

– Mobile banking and prepaid cards

– Finance and precarity

– Financial ethnography

– Consumer finance, social protection and personal responsibility

– Finance and class

– Resistance to financialization

– Finance and the commons

– Financial reform

– Finance and measurement (e.g. data, scoring, and risk)

– Finance and social capital

– Debtor-creditor relations

– Finance and philanthrocapitalism

Submissions need not be limited to these suggestions; we welcome abstracts with expansive interpretations of these topics and themes.

Please send proposed titles and abstracts of up to 250 words to Mark Kear ( ) and Lana Swartz ( ) by October 1st , 2012.


Gill, R., & Pratt, A. (2008). In the Social Factory? Immaterial Labour, Precariousness and Cultural Work. Theory Culture and Society , 25 (7-8), 1–30.
Marazzi, C. (2011). The Violence of Financial Capitalism . Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).
Maurer, B. (2012). Mobile Money: Communication, Consumption and Change in the Payments Space. Journal of Development Studies , 48 (5), 589–604.
Muniesa, F., Millo, Y., & Callon, M. (2007). An introduction to market devices. Socialogical Review , 55 (2), 1–12.
Negri, A., & Hardt, M. (2009). Commonwealth . Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard Press.
Vercellone, C. (2007). From Formal Subsumption to General Intellect: Elements for a Marxist Reading of the Thesis of Cognitive Capitalism. Historical Materialism , 15 (1), 13–36.

First published at:


‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:


Online Publications at:

Glenn Rikowski’s paper, Critical Pedagogy and the Constitution of Capitalist Society has been published at Heathwood Press as a Monthly Guest Article for September 2012, online at:

Heathwood Press:

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