Cultures of Currencies conference

This conference is a collaborative project between Stanford University in Palo Alto, California and Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Upcoming Conference

October 10th –12th, 2019

Zeppelin University

Fallenbrunnen 3,

88045 Friedrichshafen



Chair Cultural Theorie & Analyses

  • Prof Dr Jan Söffner
  • Prof Joan Ramon Resina
  • Esther Schomacher

Cultures of Currencies Conference

Following the radical reformulation of what is understood as ‘economic behavior’ in the wake of the late Gary Becker’s theories, human beings are understood as constantly calculating creatures, and their cultural and social interactions have, thus, come to be regarded as economic operations. The inherent notions of the theory of “human capital” can, by now, be traced in peoples’ attitudes towards their own lives and actions: metaphors such as ‘investing’ in relationships, and hoping to get an appropriate ‘return’, and describing people, environments, or institutions that do not seem to work to our own satisfaction as ‘liabilities’ are increasingly common.

Research in sociology and the (cultural) history of science has, over the years, retraced the theoretical development of this pervasive notion as well as its habitual implementation into our society, and, thus, has successfully questioned the ubiquity of economic rationality as ‘naturally’ given.

The Cultures of Currencies conference, however, will set out to turn the tables on this way of thinking: Instead of reading all kinds of behavior as economic, we propose to regard economic behavior as cultural and to investigate markets as cultures.

So, whereas the economic view tends to level differences not only between various fields of behavior, but also between historical periods and geographical areas by seeing them as following from the same ‘economic laws’, looking at markets as cultures encourages us instead to focus on the cultural relativity of fundamental economic concepts – first and foremost those of “market”, “currency”, “exchange” and “property” –, as well as the underlying idea of the economic “subject”.

This perspective also requires us to question the disciplinary divide between the ‘political’ and the ‘economic’ and thus to analyze political systems as economies and, vice versa, to understand markets as systems of power.

Further Information:

The conference is open to the public. Admission is free.

   RSVP required

Contact and Information:



International Conference „Cultures of Currencies“, Program

Thursday, 10.10.2019

4:30-5:00 pm, Graf von Soden-Forum, ZF-Campus:

Welcome & Opening statement: Jan Söffner, Esther Schomacher

5:00-7:00 pm, Graf von Soden-Forum, ZF-Campus:
Round table discussion: Human Markets?
Participants: Maurizio Lazzarato, Giovanni Leghissa, Lennart Brand, Ole Münch, Esther Schomacher
Moderation: Jan Söffner

7:00 pm: Dinner and Bar at Zeppelin University, ZF-Campus („Beton & Bohne“ / Bar Evening)

8:00 pm: Opening event of the exhibition “The understanding look: photographs of Pierre Bourdieu” (Zeppelin University artsprogram), White Box

Friday, 11.10.2019, “Black Box”, ZF-Campus

9:00-10:15 am:
Maurizio Lazzarato: The financialization of poverty

10:15-10:30 am: coffee break

10:30-11:45 am:
Giovanni Leghissa: „The organization as a cultural artifact. Toward an anthropological approach to the market economy”

11:45am-1:00 pm:
Lennart Brand: „Money as a metaphysical category in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged“

1:00-2:00 pm: lunch break

2:00-3:15 pm:
Ole Münch: Romantic Rags. The Economic Meaning of Urban Folklore in early Victorian London

3:15-3:30 pm: coffee break

3:30-4:45 pm:
Esther Schomacher: Who pays? On subjects and transactions

4:45-5:00 pm: coffee break

Round table discussion: “Currencies and Cultures of Exchange”
Participants: Joan Ramon Resina, Annika Nickenig, Philipp Kleinmichel, Dirk Baecker
Moderation: Esther Schomacher

Saturday, 12.10.19, lecture room 2.01, ZF-Campus

9:30-10:45 am:
Joan Ramon Resina: Pound’s Theory of Symbolic Exchange

10:45-11:00 am: coffee break

11:00 am-12:15 pm:
Annika Nickenig: From Marriage Market to Singles' Stock-Exchange. Relationships as Economic Interactions, Early Modernity and Today

12:15-1:15 pm: lunch break

1:15-2:30 pm:
Philipp Kleinmichel: Semiocapitalism as a Form of Life

2:30-2:45 pm: coffee break

2:45--4:00 pm:
Dirk Baecker: Why Economics?

4:00-4:15 pm: coffee break

4:15-5:45 pm:
Closing statement: Joan Ramon Resina, Jan Söffner
Closing discussion

Confirmed Speakers

The following speakers will be taking part at the conference:

  • Dirk Baecker (Universität Witten/Herdecke
  • Lennart Brand (Zeppelin Universität Frierichshafen)
  • Philipp Kleinmichel (Zeppelin Universität Friedrichshafen)
  • Maurizio Lazzarato (Paris)
  • Giovanni Leghissa (Università degli studi di Torino)
  • Thomas Macho (KWI Wien)
  • Ole Münch (Universität Konstanz)
  • Annika Nickenig (Humboldt Universität Berlin)
  • Esther Schomacher (Zeppelin Universtät Friedrichshafen)
  • Joan Ramon Resina (Stanford University)

Funding Agencies

The workshop is funded by:

FTS Logo Förderer

Forschungsunterstützungssystem (research support system) of Zeppelin Universität (FUSY)

More Information

Previous event:

Stanford University, May 17th, 2019

Conference in Stanford

For further information on participation and the travel process please contact us.

The Chair Holder

Söffner, Jan
Söffner, Jan Prof Dr
Dean of Zeppelin University Bachelor College
Phone:+49 7541 6009-1361
Room:FAB 3 | 1.47

Sources image gallery:

  • Image 1: E-ticker.jpg/Pavel Lyakhovskiy/17‎-11-‎2006/CC0 1.0
  • Image 2: Fmb_monnaie_Grece_Athenes_-450_.jpg/Alpra ArazeL/

                 10-06-2016/CC BY-SA4.0

  • Image 3: The_Banker_and_His_Wife_-_WGA19323.jpg/

                  Marinus van Reymerswaele/1533-1545 /CC0 1.0

  • Image 4: Tauschhandel_Grossfriedrichsburg_1690.jpg/Ingrid Mittenzwei,

                   Erika Herzfeld /1690/ CC0 1.0

  • Image 5:  Money_changers.jpg/Autor: Unbekannt /1920/ CC0 1.0
Time to decide

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