Incarnating the Money-Sign

Notes on an Implicit Theopolitics


  • Devin Singh Yale University



money, capital, incarnation, political theology, biopolitics, semiotics


This paper initiates an investigation into the theological and political dynamics surrounding the nature and function of money. Contrary to views of money’s spontaneous emergence and efficacy, or ideas of its intrinsic worth, I present the understanding of money as an authoritatively instituted sign. Whether emperor, monarch or state, authorizing institutions and discourses are necessary to render money’s performance successful in a given territory. Since in our day this implicates the nation-state, predictions of the state’s demise in light of financial market preponderance appear incoherent. In broaching an analysis of the many elements of money’s function in the nexus of power, politics, and economy, I propose the Christian concept of incarnation as a useful hermeneutic. Incarnational dynamics shed light on attempts at an enforced codification of reality by money’s semiotic institution by the powers, and open up a space for potential critique.

Author Biography

Devin Singh, Yale University

Department of Religious Studies, Yale University


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How to Cite

Singh, D. (2011). Incarnating the Money-Sign: Notes on an Implicit Theopolitics. Implicit Religion, 14(2), 129–140.