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Money and Borders  

Mariana Santos and David Bassens

Money and finance are often thought of as forming a uniform, frictionless global space. While events in the last decades have certainly shown how monetary and financial practices and events have consequences that span the globe, this global reach of money and finance is far from evenly distributed. Rather, money flows and lumps unevenly across space, with the financial system connecting some places better than others, producing effects that are geoeconomic, sociocultural, and material in nature. One productive way of opening the black box of “global finance” is by exploring money’s manifold entailments with space and borders. Borders is here meant writ large. It means, of course, the geopolitical borders of the sovereign state and jurisdictional territory, showing how global finance is rooted in the contemporary architecture of states and international relations. But it also means attending to how lines in this cartographical space of geopolitical borders are rearranged, stretched, and inflected through cross-border networks of actors, notably financial institutions, concentrated in key places of international finance. This article seeks to bring to the broader academic debate on money and borders a reading whereby the “plumbing and wiring” of international finance is seen as entailed with practices of “b/ordering” that “dissolve” borderlands and connect space as much as they produce margins, edges, and fringes. Thinking money and finance in terms of borders and frontiers help us understand how money and financial markets (notably, credit–debt relations) materialize differently on either side of financial inclusion and exclusion lines, with implications for the bodies that inhabit them.