Recentering Central Banks: Theorizing State-Economy Boundaries as Central Bank Effects

Research seminar

  • Date: Jun 22, 2021
  • Time: 11:00
  • Speaker: Matthias Thiemann
  • Associate Professor for European Public Policy at Sciences Po, Paris
Recentering Central Banks: Theorizing State-Economy Boundaries as Central Bank Effects

This special issue asks how the increasing centrality of central banks after the 2008 financial crisis has affected the relationship between the state and the economy. The introduction to the issue responds by theorising central banks as organizations operating within a boundary zone in the space between political, economic, and scientific fields. Drawing on the work of Timothy Mitchell and Gil Eyal, we argue that central bank boundary work has a dialectical dynamic: when intervening to sustain the networks of public and private institutions which keep the financial system afloat, central bank practices are shaped by and realign the discursive parameters of the state-economy boundary. Employing this conceptual prism, we provide an overview of central banking from the early modern period to the present, introducing the contributions to the special issue, which concentrate on the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries. This is a period when central bank independence became a global norm at the same time that in their role as governors of the macroeconomy central banks presided over the financialization of the economy, rising inequality, and increasing financial instability.
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