New Money: How Payment Became Social Media

New Money: How Payment Became Social Media

by Lana Swartz


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A new vision of money as a communication technology that creates and sustains invisible—often exclusive—communities

"In an engaging and timely work, brimming with fascinating anecdotes and historical and literary references, Lana Swartz brilliantly illustrates how financial technologies are quietly transforming how we socialize and what it means to belong."—Jonathan Zittrain, author of The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It  

One of the basic structures of everyday life, money is at its core a communication media. Payment systems—cash, card, app, or Bitcoin—are informational and symbolic tools that integrate us into, or exclude us from, the society that surrounds us. Examining the social politics of financial technologies, Lana Swartz reveals what’s at stake when we pay.
This accessible and insightful analysis comes at a moment of disruption: from “fin‑tech” startups to cryptocurrencies, a variety of technologies are poised to unseat traditional financial infrastructures. Swartz explains these changes, traces their longer histories, and demonstrates their consequences. She shows just how important these invisible systems are. Getting paid and paying determines whether or not you can put food on the table. The data that payment produces is uniquely revelatory—and newly valuable. New forms of money create new forms of identity, new forms of community, and new forms of power.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300233223
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 08/18/2020
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 490,897
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.94(d)

About the Author

Lana Swartz is assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. She is the coeditor of Paid: Tales of Dongles, Checks, and Other Money Stuff.

Table of Contents

1 The Communication of Money: How Money Became Social Media 1

2 Transactional Pasts: A Very Short History of Money as Communication 26

3 Transactional Identities: Paying with New Money 42

4 Transactional Politics: Getting Paid and Not Getting Paid 76

5 Transactional Memories: Social Payments and Data Economies 108

6 Transactional Publics: Loyalty and Digital Money 139

7 Transactional Futures: Living with New Money 170

Acknowledgments 175

Notes 177

Bibliography 197

Illustration Credits 247

Index 249

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