Beyond (De)regulation: Law and the Production of Financial Geographies

Authors: Shaina Potts*, University of California-Los Angeles
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: Law, Finance, Geography, Territory
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: 8222, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


While financial geographers have documented a wide variety of particular legal practices, the constitutive role of law in producing all financial activity remains under-theorized. This paper considers the existing state of research on law, finance and space by geographers and scholars in cognate fields in order to examine how focusing on law can contribute new insights to financial geography. This work demonstrates that we must take seriously the relative autonomy of legal logics, practices and temporalities, which cannot be neatly subsumed into more commonly discussed financial logics of credit creation, capital concentration or profit-seeking, but which are nevertheless inseparable from the material production of finance. After discussing several important empirical strands in existing work on law, finance and space, I conclude by identifying four key insights highlighted by this work for understanding the relationship between legal and financial geographies more broadly: the role of law in articulating processes of financialization and neoliberalization; the dialectical tension between the harmonization or Americanization of legal systems around the world on the one hand and the erection of legal barriers and differences that are useful to finance on the other hand; law’s role in the (re)territorialization of state space; and law as a primary site of political contestation among a huge array of actors at multiple scales.

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