Mapping the Intermediate: Lived Technologies of Money and Value

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Journal of Cultural Economy

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As financial transactions are increasingly digitized, old and new kinds of intermediaries are only expanding in importance. Intermediaries, mediators and brokers sit at critical junctures and operate between diverse financial arenas and pathways. We argue that mapping the intermediate entails identifying how different kinds of actors—human and non-human, objects and interfaces, institutions and practices—delimit or reify but also stitch together and overcome spatial and temporal differences in people's financial lives, while taking on varying burdens of risk. Mapping the intermediate is both an empirical and methodological exercise. Empirically, it requires following the agents and traders, brokers and material objects that facilitate transactions and add, extract, or re-work different kinds of value. Methodologically, intermediaries and the intermediate are not only the objects of analysis but act as analytical tools in their own right, making the process and politics of transactions visible and tangible. Attending to the intermediate in our inquiries around money, currency and new digital financial technologies, thereby, offers new directions for grounding finance in politics and history and better connecting micro and macro and local and global economic processes.


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