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money and finance, geography of

  The study of the relationships between money, space and place. Compared with other social science disciplines, human geography was slow to recognize the importance of money and finance in the unfolding of social life. There were hardly any attempts to write geographies of money before the 1980s (for exceptions, see Kircher, 1961; Code, 1971; Conzen, 1975, 1977), but an important new sub-field of geographical research has since emerged (Leyshon and Thrift, 1997); this is conveniently divided into four main areas, each of which corresponds to a particular scale of geographical analysis.

The first area of research has focused upon the systemic implications of money and finance at the scale of the economic system as a whole, best exemplified by David Harvey\'s (1982, 1989) work. As part of his Marxist analysis of the geographical dynamics of capitalism, Harvey draws attention to the central role played by the financial system in the capitalist economy which revolves around money; money delivers social power to those who possess it, so that capitalism may be interpreted as a system for the generation of money and, in turn, social power. The social power of money gives those individuals and institutions that possess it in abundance a privileged place within capitalism, so that over time the structure of the capitalist economy may be seen to be bending in line with the interests of money and finance. One of the outcomes of this process is time-space compression, whereby the speed of economic life accelerates as money and finance is moved about the economy in a continuous effort to reduce the turnover time of capital, dislocating the rest of the economic and political system as it does so (Harvey, 1989). The rise of ever more efficient information and communication technologies, combined with the introduction of more permissive national regimes of financial regulation during the 1980s and 1990s, has made money increasingly mobile globally. While these developments have not brought about the \'end of geography\' for money and finance which has been heralded by some (for example, see O\'Brien, 1992; cf. Martin, 1994), they have made governments more sensitive to the vagaries of increasingly powerful international financial markets. This has led some commentators to argue that at a systemic level the capitalist economy is subject to a system of \'governance without government\', which ultimately is in thrall to the imperatives of the international financial system (Gill, 1992; Thrift and Leyshon, 1994).

The second area of research has focused upon the regional effects of money and finance, especially financial services industry restructuring. Informed by the theories of neo-liberalism, leading economies in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia have, since the 1970s, sought to re-regulate their financial services industries to improve efficiency and increase competition (Moran, 1984, 1991). During the 1980s, these developments brought about a general increase in retail financial service employment, and human geographers documented and explained the uneven geographies of growth (Leyshon, Thrift and Tommey, 1989; Gentle, Marshall and Coombes, 1991; Marshall, Gentle, Raybould and Coombes, 1992). During the 1990s, the industry underwent a more profound process of restructuring, as competition intensified and new technologies and forms of organization, such as telephone call centres, credit scoring systems and customer databases, were installed; geographers have documented the causes and outcomes of this more uncertain period for the retail financial services industry (Lord, 1992; Leyshon and Thrift, 1993; Marshall and Richardson, 1996; Wills, 1996; Leyshon, Thrift and Pratt, 1998).

The third area of research has focused upon the urban dynamics of money, comprising two main strands. The first seeks to explain the success and persistence of financial centres, which are spatially constrained and transaction-intensive places of monetary exchange. Geographers have sought to explain why, in a world of time-space compression and increasingly mobile money, financial centres such as the City of London, New York and Tokyo continue to control the majority of the world\'s financial activity (Thrift, 1994; Thrift and Leyshon, 1994). The answer is to be found in the ways financial centres facilitate close interpersonal contact through episodes of co-presence. This facilitates the rapid generation, capture, interpretation and representation of business information (Boden, 1994; Boden and Moltoch, 1995), including financial information (Pryke, 1991; Allen and Pryke, 1994). The financial centre may therefore be seen as a collective way of coping with the vast amount of monetary information which circulates within the global economy. It is a centre of financial expertise founded in a \'complex division of labour embodied in the skills of the workforce, in machines, texts and so on\' (Thrift, 1994, p. 375), and which collectively generates and disseminates financial information as well as interpretations and narratives about what this information actually means. This is the reason why it is unlikely that financial centres \'will simply melt away into a generalised “space of flows” … leaving money obligations to speed their way along the cables and through the aether (sic), to and from many different terminals located in many different places\' across the global economy (Thrift, 1994, p. 327). The second area of research on the urban dynamics of money focuses upon spaces of financial exclusion, those places where poor and disadvantaged groups are directly and indirectly excluded from the financial system and denied access to mainstream retail financial services (Leyshon and Thrift, 1995; Dymski and Veitch, 1996).

The fourth and final area of research has analysed money at the institutional and individual scale, with particular attention being paid to the bodies that perform tasks in service of the monetary and financial system. This work has focused in the main upon the changing \'gender cultures\' of financial institutions (Jones, 1997), such as the overthrow of cultures of paternalistic masculinity within British retail banking (Halford and Savage, 1995, 1997) and analyses of labour market segregation within the City of London, and the ways in which highly paid jobs in corporate finance and dealing are implicitly and explicitly coded as masculine (McDowell and Court, 1994a, b, c; McDowell, 1994a, 1997). (AL)

References Allen, J. and Pryke, M. 1994: The production of service space. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 12: 453-75. Boden, D. 1994: The business of talk: organizations in action. Cambridge: Polity Press. Boden, D. and Molotch, H. 1995: The compulsion of proximity. In R. Friedland and D. Boden, eds, Now/ here: time, space and modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press. Code, W.R. 1971: The spatial dynamics of financial intermediaries: an interpretation of the distribution of financial decision-making in Canada. Ph.D. dissertation, Berkeley, University of California. Conzen, M.P. 1975: Capital flows and the developing urban hierarchy: state bank capital in Wisconsin, 1854-1895. Economic Geography 51: 321-38. Conzen, M.P. 1977: The maturing urban system in the United States, 1840-1910. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 67: 88-108. Dymski, G. and Veitch, J. 1996: Financial transformation and the metropolis: booms, busts, and banking in Los Angeles. Environment and Planning A 28: 1233-60. Gentle, C.J.S., Marshall, J.N. and Coombes, M.G. 1991: Business reorganization and regional development: the case of the British building societies movement. Environment and Planning A 23: 1759-77. Gill, S. 1992: Economic globalisation and the internationalisation of authority: limits and contradictions. Geoforum 23: 269-83. Halford, S. and Savage, M. 1995: Restructuring organisations, changing people: gender and restructuring in banking and local government. Work, Employment and Society 9: 97-122. Halford, S. and Savage, M. 1997: Rethinking restructuring: embodiment, agency and identity in organizational change. In R. Lee and J. Wills, eds, Geographies of economies. London: Arnold, 108-17. Harvey, D. 1982: The limits to capital. Oxford: Blackwell. Harvey, D. 1989: The condition of postmodernity. Oxford: Blackwell. Jones, A. 1997: (Re)producing gender cultures: theorising gender in investment banking recruitment. Geoforum. Kircher, H.B. 1961: The geography of financial agglomeration in the United States. Ph.D. dissertation, Clark University. Leyshon, A. and Thrift, N. 1993: The restructuring of the financial services industry in the 1990s: a reversal of fortune. Journal of Rural Studies 9: 223-41. Leyshon, A., and Thrift, N. 1995: Geographies of financial exclusion: financial abandonment in Britain and the United States. Transactions, Institute of British Geographers NS 20: 312-41. Leyshon, A., and Thrift, N. 1997: Money/space: geographies of monetary transformation. London: Routledge. Leyshon, A., Thrift, N. and Pratt, J. 1998: Reading financial services: texts, consumers and financial literacy. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 16: 29-55. Leyshon, A., Thrift, N. and Tommey, C. 1989: The rise of the British provincial financial centre. Progress in Planning 31(3): 151-229. Lord, J.D. 1992: Geographic deregulation of the U.S. banking industry and spatial transfers of corporate control. Urban Geography 13: 25-48. Marshall, J.N., Gentle, C.J.S., Raybould, S. and Coombes, M. 1992: Regulatory change, corporate restructuring and the spatial development of the British financial sector. Regional Studies 26: 453-67. Marshall, J.N. and Richardson, R. 1996: The impact of \'telemediated\' services on corporate structures: the example of \'branchless\' retail banking in Britain. Environment and Planning A 28: 1843-58. Martin, R. 1994: Stateless monies, global financial integration and national economic autonomy: the end of geography? In S. Corbridge, N. Thrift and R. Martin, eds, Money, power and space. Oxford: Blackwell, 253-78. McDowell, L. 1994: Social justice, organizational culture and workplace democracy: cultural imperialism in the City of London. Urban Geography 15: 661-80. McDowell, L. 1997: Capital culture: gender at work in the city. Oxford: Blackwell. McDowell, L. and Court, G. 1994a: Gender divisions of labour in the post-Fordist economy: the maintenance of occupational sex segregation in the financial services sector. Environment and Planning A 26: 1397-418. McDowell, L. and Court, G. 1994b: Missing subjects: gender, power, and sexuality in merchant banking. Economic Geography 70: 229-51. McDowell, L. and Court, G. 1994c: Performing work: bodily representations in merchant banks. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 12: 727-50. Moran, M. 1984: The politics of banking: the strange case of competition and credit control. London: Macmillan. Moran, M. 1991: The politics of the financial services revolution: the USA, UK and Japan. London: Macmillan. O\'Brien, R. 1992: Global financial integration: the end of geography. London: Pinter. Pryke, M. 1991: An international city going \'global\': spatial change in the City of London. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 9: 197-222. Thrift, N. 1994: On the social and cultural determinants of international financial centres: the case of the City of London. In S. Corbridge, N. Thrift and R. Martin, eds, Money, power and space. Oxford: Blackwell, 327-55. Thrift, N. and Leyshon, A. 1994: A phantom state? The de-traditionalization of money, the international financial system and international financial centres. Political Geography 13: 299-327. Wills, J. 1996: Uneven reserves: geographies of banking trade unionism. Regional Studies 30: 359-72.

Suggested Reading Leyshon and Thrift (1997). McDowell (1997). Thrift (1994).



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