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The price of speculation: fintech risk regimes in Hong Kong

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>29/02/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Cultural Studies
Issue number2
Number of pages26
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/06/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In what ways do fintech (financial technology) innovations mediate and articulate heterogenous facets of uncertainty in the context of finance capitalism? Arguing that uncertainty is a resource both produced and exploited, this article analyses how fintech trading applications configure market uncertainty as figures and scenarios of risk and opportunity. Moreover, foregrounding the experiences of novice retail traders, I analyse the weighing of financial risk against extra-financial forms of uncertainty, namely historical contingency, lived precarity, and infrastructural opacity. To map articulations between the various facets of uncertainty involved (i.e. risk, contingency, precarity, and opacity), I propose the concept of risk regimes: sociotechnical constellations or assemblages that interweave technologies of financial calculation and prediction; discourses of probability, possibility, risk, reward, et cetera; technologies of the self; and infrastructures of datafication key to fintech. This study is set in Hong Kong, a context that testifies to the instability of such assemblages. Whereas finance capitalism exploits uncertainty in multiple ways, contingency can also render the future of finance capitalism itself uncertain. Conceptually, I draw on recent media theories, theories of uncertainty and prediction as well as theories of value. Methodologically, I combine app analysis, in-depth user interviews, and digital-methods experimentation.