AAG CFP 2013 – Relational Geographies of Global Change: Financial Geographies of Emerging Markets

Call For Papers: Annual Meeting of American Geographers 2013 (Los Angeles)

Relational Geographies of Global Change: Financial Geographies of Emerging Markets

Whilst the USA and Western Europe are in crisis investment alternatives are once again re-emerging in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Against this backdrop financial circuits are increasingly directed towards emerging markets, which are seen as ‘safe harbours’ beyond the reach of troubled financial institutions and economies of the North and are expected to be new economic or financial centres of tomorrow. Hence, although emerging markets can still be considered niches, changing geographies of finance increasingly revolve around emerging investment opportunities in the Global South. Importantly, the global financial industry is not only observing the changes that are currently taking place. Rather, it is an arbiter of this change: Similar to ‘developed’ markets, emerging markets are collectively and relationally constructed entities during a certain temporal conjuncture, which provide a set of narratives in which financial actors frame their rationalities and practices. In a relational geography, narratives inform knowledge production at a distance, but are also themselves informed through practices at the ground, which will feed-back into existing market narratives. This relational perspective is crucial since it allows us to address the question of whether the growth of emerging markets and financial centres from which they are controlled reflects a true “shift” or merely a short-term re-orientation of circuits of finance towards emerging and frontier market in the midst of missing investment opportunities in the Global North. This triggers all kinds of sustainability questions since various emerging market crises (e.g., the 1997 Asian crisis, the double-crisis in Argentina and Turkey 2001, the 2009 Dubai debt crisis) have painfully illustrated how capital influx easily mutates into capital flight.

This session aims to do two things: First, it aims to marshal empirically-informed studies on changing geographies of financial flows (North-South, South-South, South-North, and North North) and financial command-and-control (e.g., studies of financial centres). In other words, are emerging financial centers merely dependent outposts of Euro-American finance or do they exist beyond their reach? Second, the session aims at elucidating further the effects of changing financial geographies by exploring how financial actors from the North and the South, who animate these global circuits of finance, shape and are shaped by these emerging financial geographies. The session therefore seeks to explore, but does not limit itself to:

  • How and to what extent investments in emerging markets are shaped by discourses and materialities of crisis;
  • The uneven nature of investments into emerging markets. What companies and what markets are targeted the most by investors?
  • How mega-events such as the football world cup in South Africa and in Brazil as well as the European football cup in Poland and Ukraine encourage investments into these markets;
  • The role and relationship between financial centres in the Global North and the Global South;
  • The changing power relations between financial institutions of the Global North and South; how do actors from the Global South shape global circuits of finance in the North?
  • The rationales to invest in particular emerging markets and in so doing to uncover the discourses (e.g. notions of linearity) that inform the imaginations of actors;
  • How financial actors construct knowledge about emerging markets and how they cope with uncertainty when making investments in these markets (e.g., the role of rating agencies, indices, stock market listings, etc.).

Scholars interested in presenting a paper in this session are invited to submit an abstract of up to 250 words not later than the 17th of August 2012 to David Bassens, Ghent University (david.bassens@ugent.be) and Tim Heinemann, (tim.heinemann@hcu-hamburg.de) HafenCity University Hamburg.

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