Current Scholarship
Special Issue from Economy and Society: Recentering Central Banks

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Nathan Coombs and Matthias Thiemann

This special issue argues that to make sense of the increased prominence of central banks after the 2008 financial crisis and COVID-19 pandemic requires interrogating the sources of and limits to their governmental power. In a time in which the ‘big state’ has returned alongside new forms of financial speculation, the theoretical claim advanced by this introductory paper is that the state ‘effect’ is in crucial respects conditioned by the economic governance arrangements set in place by central banks. We show that at the same time as promoting entanglements between states and markets, central banks attempt to draw new boundaries between state and economy, lending an unstable and sometimes contradictory character to their interventions. Providing the outlines of a new historical sociology of central banking which introduces the papers in the special issue, we explore the double movement that has underpinned the evolution of central banking since early modernity and holds clues for unravelling the paradoxes of the present.

Nathan Coombs and Matthias Thiemann, “Recentering central banks: Theorizing state-economy boundaries as central bank effects,” in “Recentering Central Banks,” ed. Nathan Coombs and Matthias Thiemann, special issue, Economy and Society 51, no. 4 (November 2022): 535–558. (article), (special issue).