Organized by Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou (University College London) and Chiara Bottici (New School)

What do the worlds of global finance and nationalist populism have in common? How can we understand the rise of today’s ‘new fascisms’ through the prism of financialization? This one-day workshop brought together scholars from across disciplines to debate these key questions for our understanding of contemporary capitalism. The workshop took place on February 21st 2019; it was part of Public Seminar’s Imaginal Politics initiative and was organized jointly with the Department of Social Science, University College London.

In the first panel, speakers offered insights into the past, present and future of financialization. Julia Ott (New School) explored links between finance and fascism through the prism of the historical racialization of financial instruments in the US. Arjun Appadurai (NYU) presented new thinking around the role of debt as a promise-machine in today’s financialized democracies, illuminating the contemporary moment of people’s ‘generalied impatience’ with democracy’s long-term promises. Saskia Sassen (Columbia) discussed the increasingly invisible materiality of financialization in what she described as the operation of “high finance as an extractive sector’ in global cities such as London.