*Fifth FINGEO Global Seminar*

*“European Spaces of Financialization”*

*28-29 May 2018*

*Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium*


*Local Organizers:* Manuel Aalbers (KU Leuven), David Bassens, Reijer
Hendrikse & Michiel van Meeteren (all at: Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

*Target Group and Application Procedure:* Attendance of the seminar is open
to all after registration. The registration fee is 100 euro for the full
two days, including lunch & refreshments. Applications for paper
presentations are closed, but registration for non-presenting participants
is now open: (*click here*
<http://www.vub.ac.be/en/events/2018/fingeo-global-seminar>) until 1 May


The theme of the Global Seminar is ‘European Spaces of Financialization’.
Organized on May 28 and May 29 in Brussels, the main intellectual drive for
the seminar is to debate Europe’s multiscalar spaces of financialization,
their production, workings, effects, and importantly, their alternatives.
We want to understand the socio-spatial drivers of financialization that
produce inequality, growing household indebtedness, and the privatization
of public services and support structures in the face of austerity
politics. Participants are invited to engage with the following financial
geography themes: geographies of European integration, its offshore spaces
and the wider state-finance nexus; the financialization of (non-) banking,
finance and corporate enterprise; of boom-bust cycles; of
politico-financial elites; of real estate, housing and households;
geographies of sovereignty, austerity, resistance, debt, and so forth.
Therefore we are both interested in the effects of financialization on
states and markets as well as focusing on who and what drive further
financialization of these spheres.

The program is structured around four dedicated keynote lectures of about
45 min + 15 min Q/A, each followed by a topical session with four papers.
This allows us to accommodate up to sixteen presenting participants,
although we want to encourage a larger community and the FINGEO spring
school participants to be present. Moreover, the two keynotes from the
First FINGEO dissertation prize will be accommodated on the Brussels
seminar. The seminar will cover the following themes:

*(i) The financialization of governments, the public sector and states*

Keynote: Professor Bob Jessop, Lancaster University

In recent years a mounting body of work has emerged that empirically
unpacks the financial entanglements and transformations of governments,
state agencies, (quasi-) public institutions and their offshoots. Our first
session builds on these contributions, in an understanding that states –
through a multitude of functions – shape the very context upon which
financial development unfolds. We are broadly interested in the latest
empirical insights within this growing subfield of financialization
studies, as well as emerging conceptual perspectives to make sense of the
rise of finance in a growing set of public domains: how and why governments
have been key accelerators of financialization; to what extent states have
become financial subjects themselves, and how we should understand the
ever-changing state-finance nexus in a financialized world.

*About the keynote: *

*Bob Jessop is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Lancaster
University, United Kingdom. Bob has written extensively on a wide range of
interconnected topics, such as regulation, governance and neoliberalism.
However, Bob is arguably best known for his vast work centered on the
state, on state theory and state transformations, including his popular
‘strategic relational approach’ to study the nature of states. *

*For more information see:*

*(i) Corporate financialization: banks, finance and corporations

Keynote: Professor Julie Froud, The University of Manchester

Our second session focuses on the global political economy of corporations
– a space we broadly refer to as corporate financialization. Amongst
others, we zoom in on the changing nature of corporate financing and
profitmaking: of banking, and wider financial intermediation, in which
so-called ‘non-financial’ firms increasingly perform all kinds of financial
activities. The growing influence of financial motives and practices over
business, with the rise of governance models maximizing ‘shareholder value’
as prominent example, remains one of the key spaces shaping
financialization research. Global corporations have since become
progressively interwoven with shadow banking, tax evasion and other
practices defining the financial offshore world, inviting scholars to
rethink the ways in which corporate financialization shapes up. From a
European perspective, financialized corporate governance practices have
typically been seen as something that belongs to Anglo-American capitalism.
Although such a position is difficult to maintain, it begs the question to
what extent corporate financialization shapes Europe.

*About the keynote: *

*Julie Froud is Professor of Financial Innovation at the University of
Manchester, United Kingdom. Julie has written extensively on
financialization and strategy at the level of the global corporation,
amongst others focusing on the narratives, numbers and cult(ure) behind
shareholder value orientation and the rise of capital markets. *

*For more information see:

*(iii) The politics of financialization*

Keynote: Professor Andreas Nölke, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

As a seminar organized in Brussels, it only seems logical that our third
session zooms in the politics of financialization. Who are the actual (co-)
producers of our financialized universe? Who benefits from more
financialized markets and states, and who drive policy proposals and
institutional change towards financialization, either on the EU level or
within EU member states? Amongst others, this session will discuss
geographies of lobbying, influence peddling, agenda setting, legislative
processes and related political interests. The financial crisis and its
(continuing) aftermath laid bare the excessive capture of politicians and
regulators, with numerous political solutions or ‘fixes’ to solve the
crisis, typically devised by private actors, merely replicating the very
dynamics that caused it. Likewise, the ongoing push for integrated European
capital markets will increase the likelihood of recurrent crises, rather
than prevent it. Meanwhile, the ECB has steadily become Europe’s decisive
political actor, increasingly assuming responsibilities of state actors.

*About the keynote: *

*Andreas Nölke is Professor in Political Science at Goethe University,
Frankfurt, Germany. Andreas’ work centers on political economy, having
written extensively on a variety of themes, such as corporate/transnational
governance, international accounting standards, and varieties of
capitalism. More recently, Andreas has engaged with the notion
financialization, which he views ‘the core problem for a social Europe’. *

*For more information see:

*(iv) The financialization of daily life*

Keynote: Professor Kavita Datta, Queen Mary University of London

The final session broadly focuses on the spaces shaping the
financialization of daily life, in which financial calculations and
rationalities increasingly nudge and shape social exchange and
reproduction, progressively transforming citizens – students, patients,
pensioners, households, et cetera – into financial(ized) subjects. This
particular area within the financialization literature and debate is
mostly, but not exclusively, shaped by cultural approaches, applied at the
local level or micro scale. How and why are decisions about where, when and
how to live, shop, work or leisure influenced by financial considerations?
Amongst others, this both encompasses empirical work on the
financialization of home and the housing sector, but also conceptual work
on debt and its mounting sway over social life.

*About the keynote: *

*Kavita Datta is Professor of Development Geography at Queen Mary,
Universtiy of London, United Kingdom. Kavita has written extensively on
transnational migration from the global south to the north, and in
particular to global cities like London. Amongst others, Kavita is studying
how migrant communities subject to financial exclusion carve out
alternative spaces of financial intermediation. *

*For more information see: http://www.geog.qmul.ac.uk/staff/dattak.html

As part of the FINGEO Best Dissertation Prize, two Early Career Keynotes
are organized during the Global Seminar:

*(i) Income-contingent student loans: The financialization of the state and
the statization of finance*

Early career keynote: Gareth Bryant, University of Sydney

My paper uses the case of income-contingent student loans to explore the
internalization of financial ways of calculating and organizing by states.
I argue income-contingent loans recast state-citizen relations as
creditor-debtor relations in a way that remains embedded in the fiscal
powers and instruments of states. The analysis compares schemes operating
in the UK and Australia, highlighting accounting as a key site of political
contestation. In Australia, accounting for student loans as a state-issued
financial asset has marginalized private financial markets, providing
degrees of fiscal discretion over the size, progressivity and direction of
public expenditure on universities. In the UK, accounting for student loans
as an illiquid asset has created pressures for the securitization and sale
of the loan book, using the taxation powers of the state to collect debts
for the private sector. My paper concludes by positing the financialization
of the state as a contradictory, two-way process involving the statization
of finance.

*About the keynote: *

*Gareth Bryant is a Lecturer in the Department of Polticial Economy at the
University of Sydney, Australia. His research explores the marketization of
different areas of socio-ecological life, with a current focus on climate
and education policy. Gareth is the co-editor of the Progress in Political
Economy (PPE) blog: ppesydney.net <http://ppesydney.net>. *

*For more information see:

*(ii) Living the financialization of home: difference, failure, risk and
personal responsibilization*

Early career keynote: Cesare Di Feliciantonio, University of Leicester

Building on feminist political economy, in this talk I reflect on the
key-role of difference in shaping the financialization of home as occurred
in countries such as Italy and Spain. Through the analysis of biographical
narratives of women and gay men, I aim at highlighting how personal
responsibilization and risk, two main characteristics of neoliberal
rationality, shape an ambivalent relation with financialized homeownership
for those subjects who somehow ¢failed¢ to embody the ¢responsible¢
subject. In fact the narratives analysed show how accessing the housing
market is framed as getting the possibility to prove to be a responsible
subject after having ‘failed’. This way in the talk I discuss the power of
financialized homeownership, and neoliberal rationality more generally, in
forging dreams, perspectives and life aspirations for subjects ‘failed’ as
respect to kinship, love and sexuality.

*About the keynote:*

*Cesare Di Feliciantonio has a double PhD in Geography from
Sapienza-University of Rome and KU Leuven. His PhD research focused on
‘alternatives’ to the process of subjectification shaped by indebted
homeownership in times of austerity urbanism in Rome and Barcelona. In
March 2018 he’s joining the Geography Department of the University of
Leicester with a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship.*

*For his publications see:* https://nuim.academia.edu/CesareDiFeliciantonio

All details: 

* -- Manuel B. Aalbers, Ph.D.KU Leuven / University of Leuven  Department
of Geography & Tourism  Celestijnenlaan 200e -- bus 2409 3001  Heverlee
Belgium http://ees.kuleuven.be/refcom
<http://ees.kuleuven.be/refcom> http://kuleuven.academia.edu/ManuelAalbers
<http://kuleuven.academia.edu/ManuelAalbers>  *

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