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Professor in the Department of Geography+44 (0) 191 33 41850


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

Paul's research interests centre on money and finance. 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). His research has received support from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), British Academy, and European Commission.

Paul is also Managing Editor of a leading interdisciplinary journal for social scientists - Economy and Society (

Twitter: @_paullangley

Paul's research presently focuses on two spaces of finance:

(1) Digital finance and FinTech

Paul’s work on digital finance and FinTech continues his long-standing interest in the transformation of retail financial services (e.g. edited special issue, 'Consuming Credit', Consumption, Markets and Culture, 2014). It is being pursued through research with Andrew Leyshon (University of Nottingham) into crowdfunding (Economic Geography, 2016, and Environment & Planning A, 2017), the distinctive political-economic and neo-colonial processes of FinTech (New Political Economy, 2020; Journal of Cultural Economy, 2022), and Platform Capitalism (Finance and Society, 2017). Paul has also co-edited a 2022 special issue of the Journal of Cultural on 'FinTech in Africa' (see 'FinTech in Africa: An Editorial Introduction').

Focused on the payday loan market in the UK, Paul was also Co-Investigator on a ESRC project ( that explored how credit-debt relations are mediated through digital platforms and apps. Publicatons include a methodological piece on researching digital interfaces (‘Unit, Vibration, Tone’, Cultural Geographies, 2017), an account of the experimental work of interface designers ('Digital interface design and power', Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 2018), and a paper interrogating how borrowers relate to payday loans as money relations rather than credit-debt relations ('Indebted life and money culture', Economy and Society, 2019). 

(2) Carbon finance

As part of REINVENT - a Horizon 2020 project with European partners and Harriet Bulkeley and Gavin Bridge from Durham Geography - Paul investigated the emergence of new forms of carbon finance in response to climate change. Publications from this project include ('Pluralizing and problematizing carbon finance', Progress in Human Geography, 2019; and 'Decarbonizing capital: Investment, divestment and the qualification of carbon assets', Economy and Society, 2021).

Related work includes a chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Financial Geography on 'Impact investors' (2021), and a piece with John Morris (University of Nottingham) on the role of central banks as 'climate governors of last resort' (Environment and Planning A, 2020).

Research into carbon finance extends Paul's research into governmental processes that variously seek to secure the future of life via financial logics, techniques and practices. See, for example: book-length treatments of these issues in The Everyday Life of Global Finance (OUP, 2008) and Liquidity Lost (OUP, 2015); an article on the financialization of the urban infrastructures of life (‘Frontier Financialization', Economic Anthropology, 2018); and, a conceptual essay arguing for wide-ranging research into 'The financialization of life' (in International Handbook of Financialization, 2020, edited by Mader, Mertens & van der Zwan). 

Cutting across his research, Paul contributes to theoretical debates underway in Economic Geography and beyond by developing a broad-based cultural economy approach. This includes interest in the strengths and limitations of processual concepts common to cultural economy (e.g. marketization, valuation, assetization, platformization) (see, for example, 'The folds of social finance', Environment and Planning A, 2020; 'Assets and assetization in financialized capitalism', Review of International Political Economy, 2020); the ways in which Economics can be understood to have affective, performative and governmental power; and, how the making of economic subjectivities contributes to constituting processes of economic change.


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; the rise of the US dollar as 'world money'; fiscal austerity and everyday life; private wealth management; urban air rights markets; and, distributed ledger technology and cross-border payments. He is presently supervising doctoral projects on central bank digital currencies, overseas stock market listings by Chinese firms, and the making of carbon markets in Chinese cities. 

In 2021, Paul received the University-wide Teaching and Learning Award for Excellence in Research Student Supervision. 

Research interests

  • Geographies of money and finance
  • Financialization
  • Cultural economy


Authored book

Chapter in book

Journal Article

Supervision students