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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Professor Paul Langley

Professor in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41850
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 222

Contact Professor Paul Langley (email at paul.langley@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

Paul Langley is Professor of Economic Geography. He joined the Department in 2011, and was previously Professor of International Relations at University of York and Senior Lecturer in Politics at Northumbria University. Paul's Departmental roles have included Programme Director for BA(Hons) and MArts Geography, and Convenor of the Economy & Culture research cluster.

Paul's research interests centre on money, financial markets, and processes of financialization. He is the author of three monographs - World Financial Orders (Routledge, 2002/2013), The Everyday Life of Global Finance (Oxford University Press, 2008), and Liquidity Lost (Oxford University Press, 2015) - and has received research funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), British Academy, and European Commission.

Paul is currently working on three projects:

Digital interfaces and debt

Focusing on the payday loan market in the UK, this collaborative ESRC project (led by James Ash, Newcastle, with Ben Anderson, Durham Geography, see http://www.debtinterfaces.org.uk/) is exploring how credit-debt relations are mediated through digital platforms and apps. A methodological piece on researching digital interfaces (‘Unit, Vibration, Tone’, Cultural Geographies, 2017) has been published, and further papers will follow. 

Paul’s work here relates to his wider interests in the marketing and consumption of retail financial products and services (e.g. edited special issue, 'Consuming Credit', Consumption, Markets and Culture, 2014), and also to on-going research with Andrew Leyshon (Nottingham University) into the intermediary infrastructures of digital economic circulation ('Platform Capitalism', Finance and Society, 2017). 

Social finance and urban social innovation

In collaboration with colleagues from Durham Geography, Paul is Co-Investigator on an ESRC Urban Transformations Programme project (see http://community.dur.ac.uk/pursi/). His contribution to the project centres on researching novel forms of contemporary finance that are demarcated according to their social purpose and content (e.g. social impact investment, social lending, community shares, civic crowdfunding) and which variously enable processes of urban social innovation. See, for example, Paul's forthcoming article on ‘The Folds of Social Finance’ (Environment & Planning A: Economy and Space), his blog post on 'Crowdfunding Cities' (http://community.dur.ac.uk/pursi/blog/), and his lecture in the 'Frontier Regions in Global Finance' series at the Goethe Universitat in Frankfurt (https://www.uni-frankfurt.de/47235672/11_lectures).

This research develops from Paul’s previous work on marginal and alternative spaces of finance, including subprime mortgages (Economy and Society, 2008), ethical investment (in Abdelal, Blyth & Parson, 2010), and, most recently, crowdfunding in the United Kingdom (Economic Geography, 2016, and Environment & Planning A, 2017). 

Financial investment and decarbonization 

As part of REINVENT - a Horizon 2020 project with European partners and Harriet Bulkeley and Gavin Bridge from Durham Geography - Paul is investigating how new forms of finance are contributing towards the decarbonization of European industrial sectors including plastics, steel, and paper. 

Research here broadens Paul's long standing research interest in processes of financialization that variously promise to secure a valued form of life via the markets. See, for example: book-length treatments of these issues in The Everyday Life of Global Finance (OUP, 2008) and Liquidity Lost (OUP, 2015); a chapter addressing how speculative financial circulations are envisioned as vital to popular wealth and well-being (in Money and Finance after the Crisis, edited by Brett Christphers, Geoff Mann and Andrew Leyshon, 2017); a recently published conceptual essay on ‘Finance/Security/Life’ (Finance & Society, 2017); and, a forthcoming article on the financialization of the urban infrastructures of life (‘Frontier Financialization', Economic Anthropology).

 

Cutting across his research, Paul also seeks to contribute to conceptual debates underway in economic geography and beyond by developing a broad-based cultural economy approach. This includes interests in the strengths and limitations of processual concepts common to cultural economy (e.g. marketization, valuation, capitalization), the ways in which economics can be understood to have performative and governmental power, how affective energies and sovereign techniques are mobilized in economic practices, and how the making of entrepreneurial subjectivities features in contemporary neo-liberal government.

Supervises

Paul welcomes doctoral research students interested in working on topics that fall broadly within the remit of his research interests. He has previously supervised students who have written theses on a wide range of topics, including occupational pensions in the UK, sub-prime mortgage markets in the US and UK, ‘small states’ and ‘hot money’ in the global economy, financial stability and central banking, and the rise of the US dollar as 'world money'. He is presently supervising students researching topics that include fiscal austerity, private wealth management, urban air rights markets, and distributed ledger technology and cross-border payments.

External Supervisions

Research Groups

Research Interests

  • Geographies of money and finance
  • Financialization
  • Cultural economy

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Authored book

Chapter in book

Show all publications

Supervises