Edited by Nina Bandelj, Frederick F. Wherry and Viviana A. Zelizer

Money Talks; Explaining How Money Really Works
Editions:Hardcover: $ 45.00 USD
ISBN: 9780691168685
Pages: 288

The world of money is being transformed as households and organizations face changing economies, and new currencies and payment systems like Bitcoin and Apple Pay gain ground. What is money, and how do we make sense of it? Money Talks is the first book to offer a wide range of alternative and unexpected explanations of how social relations, emotions, moral concerns, and institutions shape how we create, mark, and use money. This collection brings together a stellar group of international experts from multiple disciplines―sociology, economics, history, law, anthropology, political science, and philosophy―to propose fresh explanations for money's origins, uses, effects, and future.

Money Talks explores five key questions:

  • How do social relationships, emotions, and morals shape how people account for and use their money?
  • How do corporations infuse social meaning into their financing and investment practices?
  • What are the historical, political, and social foundations of currencies?
  • When does money become contested, and are there things money shouldn't buy?
  • What is the impact of the new twenty-first-century currencies on our social relations?

At a time of growing concern over financial inequality, Money Talks overturns conventional views about money by revealing its profound social potential.

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Publisher: Princeton University Press
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Reviews:Cheris Shun-ching Chan on American Journal of Sociology wrote:

"Despite the variation in topics, practically all the works were inspired by Zelizer’s Social Meaning of Money (Princeton University Press,1994) and therefore share a common theoretical position. They all reject the classical economic assumption of the fungibility of money and the classical sociological notion of the impersonalization of money. They refuse to give money a celebrating tone or a corrupting image. Instead, they treat money as a subject for empirical inquiry. It is always challenging for an edited volume to present a coherent collection while embracing diverse voices. Money Talks makes an arresting accomplishment in this regard. I applaud the three editors for weaving the chapters into meaningful themes and praise the authors for speaking to one another. [...] What is missing, or what I wish the editors had written, is a conclusion that provides some discussion of the intriguing questions brought up at the beginning of the book(for example, which money corrupts and which money promotes social lives, which money contributes to social justice and which money intensifies inequalities). [...] Another minor draw-back to this otherwise perfect collection is that although the editors were clear in refusing to take on a celebrating or corrupting notion of money, most of the chapters carry an implicit celebrating tone of the 'socializing' or 'repersonalizing' function of money in different forms (with the exception of a few that touch on power, inequality, and hierarchy). Yet, this imbalance is probably the price of achieving a coherent theoretical argument as a whole. [...] As a whole, Money Talks is a remarkable edited volume that is much needed. It provides tremendous insights for teachers and students of economic sociology. Its interdisciplinary nature is appealing not only to social scientists but also to historians, philosophers, and those in the legal profession. It opens up a wide spectrum of topics and questions for future research."

Allister Pilar Plater on American Journal of Cultural Sociology wrote:

"In Money Talks: Explaining How Money Really Works, Nina Bandelj, Frederick Wherry, and Viviana Zelizer have assembled a diverse and quite compelling amalgamation of thought out of which emerges an agenda at the intersection of cultural and economic sociology. The book is forward looking; little time is spent critiquing classical notions of money. Instead the text barrels forward, assuming that those reading are already on board, or perhaps inadvertently making the claim that the old debate is over, the sociality of money has won and therefore the cultural relational study of money and monies now demands even further work. It departs from standard accounts of modern money and sedimented assumptions wherein money is deemed neutral, homogenous, and fungible, its legitimacy governmental and its exchange asocial. Instead, it builds an interdisciplinary path that attempts to explain the plethora of ways we use, give, save, and transfer money as well as explore the multiple socio-economic markets in which we do so. [...] As an agenda setting book, Money Talks accomplishes what it originally set out to do: spark conversation, generate questions, and present alternative frameworks to money’s assumed neutrality. To anyone interested in money’s sociality past, present, and future and its ability to shape and be shaped by groups, collectives, organizations, and institutions this book is integral to the ongoing debate."


Table of Contents of Money Talks

  1. Introduction; Advancing Money Talks (Nina Bandelj, Frederick F. Wherry, and Vivianna A. Zelizer)

Part I - Beyond Fungibility

  1. Economics and the Social Meaning of Money (Jonathan Morduch)
  2. Morals and Emotions of Money (Nina Bandelj, Tyler Boston, Julia Elyachar, Julie Kim, Michael McBride, Zaibu Tufail, and James Owen Wheaterall)
  3. How Relational Accounting Matters (Frederick F. Wherry)

Part II - Beyond Special Monies

  1. The Social Value of Credit, Value and Finance (Bruce G. Carruthers)
  2. From Industrial Money to Generalized Capitalization (Simone Polillo)

Part III - Creating Money

  1. The Constitutional Approach to Money: Monetary Design and the Production of the Modern World (Christine Desan)
  2. The Market Mirage (David Singh Grewal)
  3. The Macro-Social Meaning of Money: From Territorial Currencies to Global Money (Eric Helleiner)

Part IV - Contested Money

  1. Money and Emotion: Win-Win Bargains, Win-Lose Contexts, and the Emotional Labor of Emotional Surrogates (Arlie Hochschild)
  2. Paid to Donate: Egg Donors, Sperm Donors, and Gendered Experiences of Bodily Commodification (Rene Almeling)
  3. Money and Family Relationships: The Biography of Transitional Money (Supriya Singh)

Part V - Money Futures

  1. Money Talks, Plastic Money Tattles: The New Sociability of Money (Alya Guseva and Akon Rona-Tas)
  2. Blockchains Are a Diamond's Best Friend: Zelizer for the Bitcoin Moment (Bill Maurer)
  3. Utopian Monies: Complementary Currencies, Bitcoin and the Social Life of Money (Nigel Dodd)