Accueil > The social aspects of money


Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


No background in economics or finance.

Course Description

Money is everywhere in our social life and can be subject to technical definitions from lawyers, economists, central bankers and all sorts of experts. Yet it remains an obscure concept. And the more technical the usage of money, the less understandable its meaning. It is probably easier to understand currency manipulation or quantitative easing than the concept of money per se. Considering that money is too important to be left to the economists, this course aims at providing a deeper understanding of money. Using indistinctively sociology, law, economics, philosophy, literature and psychology, and focusing on different actors such as States, societies, consumers and banks, the class deals with some of today's most acute issues in money matters. What is the difference between money and currency? Between money and credit? Are money and the nation-state inseparable? How to think about the relationship between money and religion, politics, linguistics? Is money an instrument of liberation or domination? Are shadow banking and high-frequency trading challenging the concept of money? What about the Bitcoin, the decentralized alternative currency that disconnects monetary creation from banks and States and fascinates economists, speculators, computer coders, entrepreneurs alongside with anarchists and criminals? The twelve classes will deal with different approaches from social sciences and give students the opportunity to dedicate a research work on one of these aspects.


ZAMARIA, Alain A. (Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law)

Course validation

3 grades: one exam, one research paper to submit by the end of the semester, one class presentation and oral participation.

Required reading

  • Nigel Dodd, The social life of money, Princeton University Press, 2016 (revised edition)
  • Felix Martin, Money, The unauthorized biography, First Vintage Books Edition, 2014

Additional required reading

  • Ogien Ruwen Le corps et l'argent, La Musardine, 2010
  • Pascal Bruckner, La sagesse de l'argent, Grasset, 2016