What is money?

Presented by the Social Studies of Finance Group in partnership with the Australian Working Group on Financialisation (AWGF), University of Sydney

What is money thumb

6 November, 2013

It’s often said that money talks. But what exactly does money today say? In a world of Bitcoin, financial derivatives, cloud-connected loyalty cards, digitally mediated peer to peer lending and ever more mobile monies, it is increasingly difficult to define money and the forms it takes. If money is what money does, money’s complexity now makes it less and less easy to identify simply as a medium of exchange and a measure of value. From its ability to serve as one of modern life’s key organizing forms, to its depiction as a symbolic, mutually shared illusion, money has generated a long conversation about trust, economic ties and social relations.

This panel continues the conversation, using the contemporary problematic of money in an age of economic recession, currency crisis and austerity for a much broader discussion about the nature of money, credit and capital in the world today.


  • Professor Dick Bryan (panel chair), Department of Political Economy, University of Sydney
  • Professor Robert Meister, Department of History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Professor Lisa Adkins, Department of Sociology, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Professor Douglas R. Holmes, Department of Anthropology, Binghampton University, New York
  • Lana Swartz, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California
  • Assistant Professor Ute Tellmann, Department of Sociology, University of Hamburg
  • Professor Miguel Vatter, Arts & Social Sciences, University of NSW
  • Assistant Professor Leigh Claire La Berge, Department of English, Saint Mary’s University, Canada