Financial Folds: Making Markets, Remaking the Social

PUrSI Co-Investigator Paul Langley delivers his lecture, Financial Folds: Making Markets, Remaking the Social, as part of the ‘Frontier Regions of Global Finance‘ series at Goethe University, Frankfurt.

Watch the lecture here.


During the global financial crisis, market innovation was criticised for fuelling speculative excesses that lacked social utility and enriched social elites. A set of financial markets have now emerged that are explicitly differentiated by their ostensible social qualities and potentials. Finance is recast as a force for social good. In markets for social impact bonds, for example, the social refers to what is being financed: public policy interventions designed to address the social problems of a particular place. In crowdfunding and peer-to-peer markets, meanwhile, the social refers to how finance is raised: the mobilisation of the sociality of local and digital community relations.  By analysing the remaking of the social that these marketizations entail, the paper will contribute to two critical debates about markets. First, the making of markets is widely explained as processes replete with tendencies to disembed economy from society and thereby proliferate matters of social concern. The paper explores how the social is now variously enrolled in financial markets, hybrid processes that combine marketization with socialization and generate particular and depoliticized meanings of the social. Second, the making of markets is typically explained as expansionary processes that confront and cross boundaries, both territorial and imagined. The paper develops Gilles Deleuze’s concept ‘the fold’ to further critical understanding of how financial markets criss-cross the economy/society boundary. Financial folds are myriad seams of inflection, spaces where the social purpose and content that is typically lacking from financial markets is spliced and stitched back into their speculative excesses.

Crowdfunding Cities

By Professor Paul Langley

What is the relation between crowdfunding and the City? ‘Crowdfunding’ is a rapidly expanding online method of raising money and finance that, according to The Economist (2016) magazine, will raise $34 billion worth of funding across the globe in 2016, double that of 2014. But, how does crowdfunding presently figure in processes of urban change? And, given the research focus of the PUrSI project, what are the indications from the cities of Athens, Berlin and Newcastle upon Tyne that crowdfunding can generate resources in support of urban social innovation? Continue reading

New Book on Urban and Regional Social Movements

A new multi-lingual book on Urban and Regional Social Movements is available here from the Invisible Cities Research Group:


The multilingual and interdisciplinary book Urban and Regional Social Movements includes 21 texts that explore theoretical issues of movement processes or focus on examining movements which have been developed in Greece and internationally (Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, India, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkey).

It is a book that aims at being constantly “under construction” and as a consequence “alive”, up-to-date and dynamic. Hence the blog was also created which will be regularly updated with new links, studies and news from various urban and regional movements around the world. Continue reading