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Message posted on 23/02/2023

Reminder for abstracts on "green finance" at the upcoming Nordic STS conference in Oslo

Dear everyone

Just a quick reminder to those interested in the role of finance in governing the climate issue to submit an abstract for our panel at the upcoming Nordic STS conference in Oslo (June 7-9, 2023).

The deadline for abstracts is next week, March 1st. Abstracts can be submitted here.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

PANEL DESCRIPTION: Panel organizers: Kristin Asdal and Stine Engen, University of Oslo; Liliana Doganova, Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation

Risk, finance, procedures of financialization and the new worth of the green Finance has in the past recent years been called upon to turn into more of an environmental agent and addressed by, among others, the COP26 climate conference and the World Bank1 to finance the changes that are needed to transition society in green and sustainable direction. In parallel, financial actors and institutions are restructuring and responding to the call by offering saving schemes for green investment and also building large departments for reporting on and valuing green companies and sustainable investments.

More broadly, scholars have recognized the influx of financial initiatives not only concerned with financial return but also some form of “social return” and connected its recent upswing to a legitimation crisis after the 2008 global financial crisis (Chiapello & Knoll, 2020; Langley, 2020; Langley et al., 2021). At the same time, this can be linked to a wider moralization of the economy (Fourcade 2017) and towards yet another way in which economy and ‘the good’ are being intertwined (Asdal et. al 2021).

The “green finance” sector, however, is diverse, comprising for instance, techniques and practices for decarbonizing capital (Langley et al., 2021), with a goal of directing investment towards low-carbon initiatives and away from high-carbon sectors. Also, this is about how financialized ways of operating and reasoning are shaping practices and sustainability issues outside the conventional sites of finance. In addition to how finance may have an impact on the climate change issue by investing in and directing capital towards so-called green projects, climate change is also thought to affect the financial sector itself. This can be seen for example in how the question of risk features in how finance approaches the environmental issue. Here the climate crisis is a risk not only to single investments, but to the financial system as a whole, and consequently becomes one of the reasons why finance needs to be concerned with the environmental issue in the first place. The fairly recent notion of “climate risk” for instance, highlights this. Some scholars, like Chiapello (2020) have questioned “the green finance moment” and its possibilities of offering solutions to solving the climate crisis and views it rather as “a new stage in environmental policies that systemically accompanies the financialization of capitalism” (Chiapello, 2020, p. 20).

In this open panel we ask:

  • What is this ‘new’ and ‘green’ finance sector?
  • How does this new “green finance movement” shape the environmental issue?
  • How to empirically and theoretically analyze finance as a new environmentally engaged actor and how should we understand and analyze claims that finance can secure and enable a green transition?
  • More specifically, we also ask what are the procedures and tools of valuations at play in ascribing monetary value to the environment?
  • What are the forms of valuations at work in finance as compared with other valuations tools, practices, and disciplines?
  • How does finance seek to combine that of securing return with doing good with money and are these practices of valuation different from standard methods in finance, or are we rather seeing innovations in methods to handle such new issues?

The new role of finance is both empirically, theoretically, and analytically under-explored. This panel invites empirically grounded papers aiming at investigating the abovementioned and related questions.

References: Asdal, K, Cointe, E., Hobæk, B., Reinertsen, H., Huse, T., Morsman, S., & Måløy,T, (2021)’The Good Economy’; a conceptual and empirical move for investigating how economies and versions of the good are entangled, Biosocieties. Chiapello, E. (2020). Stalemate for the financialization of climate policy. Economic Sociology, 22(1), 10. Chiapello, E., & Knoll, L. (2020). Social finance and impact investing. Governing welfare in the era of financialization. Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung, 45(3), 7–30. Langley, P. (2020). Impact investors: The ethical financialization of development, society and nature. In The Routledge Handbook of Financial Geography (pp. 328–351). Routledge. Fourcade, M. (2017). The fly and the cookie: Alignment and unhingement in 21st-century capitalism. Socio-Economic Review 15 (3): 661–678. Langley, P., Bridge, G., Bulkeley, H., & van Veelen, B. (2021). Decarbonizing capital: Investment, divestment and the qualification of carbon assets. Economy and Society, 50(3), 494–516.


Stine Engen Ph.D. candidate / stipendiat Value threads TIK – Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture The University of Oslo

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