The global financial crisis acted as a spur to ‘social finance’, a loose grouping of markets demarcated on the grounds of their ostensible social purpose. This article’s critical analysis of social finance contributes to cultural economy research into marketization processes in economic geography and allied fields. First, responding to calls for greater attention to be given to heterogeneous and variegated market-making processes ‘on the ground’, social finance is analysed as a relatively discrete and hybrid modality of marketization that makes possible the valuation and capitalization of the social economy to address collective social problems. Second, moving beyond topographical accounts that understand geographies of marketization as ‘taking place’ through the outward expansion of the market’s imagined boundaries, Gilles Deleuze’s concept of ‘the fold’ is elaborated upon to develop a topological analysis of the spatial constitution of social finance markets. The folds of social finance are seams of inflection, entanglements where the social utility typically lacking from mainstream finance is variously spliced and stitched into marketization processes. In social finance markets-in-the-making, ‘the social’ is also shown to be remade as an array of thoroughly liberal associations and subjectivities that are, at once, pluralist, ethical and entrepreneurial.
Langley, P. (2020). The folds of social finance: Making markets, remaking the social. Environment and Planning A, 52(1), 130-147. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518x17752682