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CAS SEE Fellowship Application: Spring/Summer 2022

The CAS SEE Fellowship Program for Spring/Summer 2022 will host 7 Junior Fellows.

The Call for Applications closes on January 15th, 2022

The 15th generation of fellows will assume their positions by March 1st, 2022

The CAS SEE Fellowship is intended to provide support for early-stage researchers. Inspired by the cooperation of previous generations of CAS SEE Fellows and their creation of long-term thematic synergies among researchers, the upcoming CAS SEE Fellowship will stimulate fellows to present their research in Rijeka and other regional centers. Alongside pursuing their independent research interests, Fellows will attend regular CAS SEE regional conferences and seminars.

CAS SEE encourage candidates for the Spring/Summer CAS SEE Fellowship to focus particularly on two thematic foci: Documenting Democracy and Cryptocurrencies, Financialization and the World without Money

 

CAS SEE will also take into account all excellent proposals that are not strictly related to the main topics, particularly proposals related to the wide range of topics related to democratic theory and practice of democracies, on climate change and environmental issues (incl. green innovations, inter-linkages between human society and nature, on the role of political ecology today, etc.) on new forms of mobilization and social movements, on the effects of global and regional migration, etc.

Documenting Democracy

This thematic focus has been developed in collaboration with Rajko Grlić, CAS SEE Permanent Fellow. The applicants for this thematic focus may apply with a documentary film project in the early or middle stage of production.

The current historical moment is marked by propaganda, disinformation, and manipulated materials amplified and multiplied by global communication technologies, spreading like wildfire through social networks and legacy media, influencing public opinion, votes, imagination, and trust. Under these conditions, documentary film is an invaluable instrument for tracing truths, reasons, experiences, and complexities. Moreover, in democracies under threat across the world, documentary films play a crucial role – they amplify the voices of the marginalized and oppressed, discover hidden stories, trace our shared concerns and our deep disagreements, and illuminate the humanity of our neighbors, allies, and enemies.

This CAS SEE Call invites researchers, journalists, and filmmakers to apply with their early or mid-stage film projects documenting the current and past realities broadly related to diverse, particular, and unique forms of democratic engagement, development, and backsliding.

Beyond the regular stipend for Fellows which will allow them to focus on the development of the project, the Fellowship will also provide the successful applicants with a series of intensive mentoring sessions with Rajko Grlić aimed at the development of their films’ structures, focuses, and themes out of the materials produced in the current stage.

Description of the projects in applications for this thematic focus must include:

  • synopsis of the film
  • description of the production phase in which the film project is currently in
  • short biography of the screenwriter, director and the producer
  • title and link to the applicant’s last film project, if there is one

Furthermore, applications should include 2-4 minutes of the existing material of the film project to be developed during CAS SEE Fellowship – please provide a link for the uploaded video materials in the “List up to three of your publications” slot in Application form.

Lastly, please note that applicants for this thematic focus need not hold a PhD.

Cryptocurrencies, Financialization and the World without Money

This thematic focus has been developed in collaboration with Željko Ivanković, CAS SEE Permanent Fellow.


Cryptocurrencies emerge as an outcome of the development of ICT and the financialization of the economy and society. The most famous cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was invented at the end of 2008 at the height of the financial and economic crisis. It was studied more as an implementation of blockchain technology during the first few years than a promising financial innovation. However, it took only a decade to attract hundreds of millions of people, including professionals from finance and politics and scholars from different disciplines.

The world of cryptocurrencies is radical. People from this circle ideologically challenge the incumbent financial infrastructure and hierarchy. They picture their ‘libertarian’ utopia, free of central power which regulates transactions and creates means of payment. However, the world of automated transactions questions started and restarted some of the fundamental questions about money, political and economic power, and the insufficiently investigated processes of financialization.

Cryptocurrencies re-initiate research in old theoretical and conceptual questions such as – what is the economic and social role of banking and finance; does the concept of fairness have a place at all in the market, and does the very existence of money introduce inequality? Fundamental questions remain: what is the nature and origin of money, legal, social, ideological, and political preconditions for its creation, and what are the consequences of money usage in these areas?

With an intensive retreat of cash payment (and with the advance of financial instruments, particularly derivatives), the discussion about a world without money has re-emerged, this time not as a utopian concept. There are two understandings of the world without money. According to an old description of such a world, money doesn’t need material representation at all – it is simply an ‘abstract scale of value,’ of which the only function is to be a universal unit of account. At first sight, it looks as if the digital world can fulfill these conditions.

On the other hand, crypto-tokens are described as financial instruments distinct from money and (financial) assets; nevertheless, they perform their functions and share some characteristics with them. Since crypto tokens do not have use value, they are also distinct from (digital) goods (i.e., software, computer games, etc.). Following this interpretation, the world where crypto-tokens replace financial instruments wouldn’t contain money as a universal unit of account and measure (fair) value.

However, it is not clear whether money fulfilled the function of the measure of (fair) value during the period of financialization before cryptocurrencies emerged. Whether the development of finance took the direction toward the world without money before cryptocurrencies? Or cryptocurrencies represent that necessary final step toward the world without a universal measure of value. 

In other words, whether cryptocurrencies break with the traditional finance, or they continue financialization at a new level. There is an additional issue here related to the concepts of “equality” and “accessibility” behind any cryptocurrencies: Who is and under which circumstances (incl. with which access to technology) able to use and profit from them, who remains excluded and how to overcome the danger of new inequalities in financial terms?

This thematic focus invites researchers to apply with projects broadly related to

  • the studies of competing visions of finance and economy in contemporary debates in economics, crypto-communities, and the financial sector
  • the financialization of economies and societies, and its philosophical, historical, economic, legal, social, and political aspects
  • the philosophical, historical, economic, legal, social, and political accounts of money, crypto-currencies, alternative financial instruments, and the world without money
  • the trans-national comparative studies of regulatory treatments of cryptocurrencies and their underlying assumptions and visions
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