Amin Samman is Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy at City, University of London and co-Director of the City Political Economy Research Centre. His research explores the temporal, historical, and existential aspects of contemporary capitalism, with a particular emphasis on the workings of money, debt, and finance. He is the author of History in Financial Times (Stanford University Press, 2019) and numerous articles in journals of political economy, social theory, and economic sociology.
Samman is actively involved in fostering and promoting cutting-edge research in the burgeoning field of finance and society studies. He is co-founder and editor of the journal, Finance and Society, as well as co-founder and chair of the Finance and Society Network (FSN), which provides a platform for collaboration between scholars from across the social sciences and humanities with those working on the fringes of conventional academia, including visual and performance artists, activists, and practitioners.
- University profile page: https://www.city.ac.uk/about/people/academics/amin-samman
- Interview with Amin Samman
Nihilism and the ends of finance
Nihilism provides a unique vantage point on contemporary forms of apocalyptic imagination, foregrounding their affective dimension and inviting us to relate such moods to the broader context in which they take shape. Nietzsche did this for the late nineteenth century with his concept of “European nihilism”, linking widespread malaise to the self-dissolution of the Platonic-Christian worldview—but what about the present day? To the extent that our time is once again a moment of disorientation and despair, what is it about the contemporary world that makes us engage it through the thought of its falsification, destruction, or transcendence? In this project, “financial nihilism” is proposed as a heuristic for theorizing relations between the diverse worlds of financial capitalism and the forms of apocalyptic nihilism that accompany these. This will entail two phases of research. The first will focus on conceptions of nihilism, seeking to develop a new typology that clarifies the forms of apocalypse attached to nihilism over the centuries. The second phase will bring this typology into conversation with contemporary accounts of finance and financial society, using this as a springboard for exploring the financialization of apocalyptic nihilism in the twenty-first century.