The Bonfires of Money: Capitalism, Memory and Iconoclasm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


As a sort of poetic rite, the idea of burning money seems to hunt the contemporary political imagination since the 2008‘s global financial crisis. However, the bonfires of money represent a major figuration in modern Western cultures directly connected to the political history of capital and of the state. Using Iberian examples with global implications, this chapter traces the secret emergences of the money bonfire in relation to the founding of national currencies. Based on historical experiences, we can consider the bonfire of money a modern political institution, whose remote anthropological origins were updated in relation to the development of commercial banking and the repressive apparatus of the Spanish Inquisition. The last section of this essay deals with the creation of national currencies as part of the process of building the republican liberal states and their memorial regimes. By way of conclusion, the author considers the survival today of the cult of the stake of money and its importance in relation to the global ecological crisis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCultures of Currencies
Subtitle of host publicationLiterature and the Symbolic Foundation of Money
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781000543186
ISBN (Print)9781032208824
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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