Crowdfunding is a digital economy in which funds provided by large numbers of individuals (the crowd) are aggregated and distributed through online platforms to a range of actors and institutions. In the United Kingdom, crowdfunding is a particularly diverse and dynamic economy: the forms taken by funding now range from donations to business loans and the issue of equities by start-up enterprises, and recent rapid growth is concentrated in the financial market circuits of crowdfunding. This article analyzes the changing composition of the crowdfunding economy in the United Kingdom as a process of financial marketization and develops a sympathetic critical engagement with cultural economy scholarship on the geographies of money and finance. Consistent with previous cultural economy research into sociotechnical processes, the financial market circuits of crowdfunding are shown to be produced through the mobilization of economic theory and the enrollment of calculative market devices. When calling for a broadening of the existing analytical remit of cultural economy scholarship, however, emphasis is also placed on both regulation and governance and monetary valuations as constitutive and relational forces in the assembly of markets in the making. Regulation and governance are shown to deploy sovereign powers and techniques to territorialize, legitimize, and bolster the financial market circuits of crowdfunding. Money, meanwhile, is shown to play a dual role. While it certainly enables calculative and marketized valuations, money simultaneously creates scope for a multiplicity of values to be inscribed into its circulations such that the diversity of the crowdfunding economy persists and proliferates amidst financial marketization.
Langley, P. (2016). Crowdfunding in the United Kingdom: A cultural economy. Economic Geography, 92(3), 301-321. https://doi.org/10.1080/00130095.2015.1133233