New article on conceptualising money

Volume 24, 1 – Winter (2020), pp. 30-44

Image, value and belief: assessing money through Simondon

Diego Viana FFLCH-USP, Rua Girassol, 554, 183, São Paulo-SP Brasil,


Regarding money, the theme of belief is usually formulated in terms of belief in money. The same is true of trust, as well the value of money. One should also raise the question of trust, belief and value through money, or given its presence. This suggestion is inspired by the philosophy of Gilbert Simondon, whose theory of psychic and collective individuation aims at overcoming the dichotomy between methodological individualism and a sociology of vast categories. Simondon’s theory has three aspects that could inform the research on money. Firstly, the philosopher raises the question of how groups are constituted: they subsist by the same process that gives birth to individual personalities. A group is defined by the categories it mobilizes, and most importantly, that it produces while constituting itself. Secondly, Simondon underscores the inventive aspect of this emergence of groups, an invention analogous to technical invention, one that redraws the potentials at work in the collective: it can be those of the territory, of the bodies, or of the minds. This inventive character prolongs these potentials as structures, and this is what the collective is all about. Finally, Simondon develops a theory of the “image cycle” that can help us understand the continuity between this indefinite and infinite field of potentials, the typical categorization of groups, and the formation of images and objects (technical, sacred, aesthetic), which crystalize desires, beliefs and hopes of individuals as members of groups. These aspects clarify our wish to alter the way the questions regarding money are enounced, as well as that of the affects it mobilizes and informs. Since money manifests itself in its operation, as image or object, it can be considered to stem from the simondonian image cycle, giving sense to groups and mobilizing potentials, desires and beliefs. We explore and explicit the differences implied by this approach, underscoring Simondon’s contributions to social thought. Money is a privileged object for the application of Simondon’s thought, because of its plasticity, the vastness of the domains in which it operates, and the magnitude of forces it mobilizes.


Image, group, belief, value, Simondon, interpretation Article Viana To cite this article: Viana, D.  (2020) ‘Image, value and belief: Assessing money through Simondon’ International Journal of Community Currency Research Volume 24 (Winter 2020) 30-44;; ISSN 1325-9547; DOI