Theorising International Monetary Relations: Three Questions about the Significance of Materiality

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

98 Downloads (Pure)


This article engages a conversation with Benjamin Cohen by raising three questions about the significance of materiality. The paper's questions focus on how materiality can be included in theorizations so that its political import is not defined away from the outset. The article does this focussing on Cohen's treatment of electronic money and its significance for the Politics of International Monetary Relations. The first question posed is about ontology, the second about agency and the third about the scope of politics. The three questions are raised as a conversation in which arguments and counterarguments are advanced. The questions are therefore posed with Cohen's contributions to theorizing the political significance of materiality as their point of departure. They are formulated as a consequence of bringing these contributions in relation to insights from the Social Studies of Finance. From this perspective it would seem that a more far reaching engagement with materiality (in terms of ontology, agency and epistemology) is necessary to capture its political significance for international monetary politics and currency hierarchies. The article does not conclude in conventional fashion but purposefully strives to leave these questions open for discussion.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContexto Internacional
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)945-973
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Electronic money
  • Digital
  • New materialism
  • Materiality
  • Security
  • Ontology

Cite this