Who put the 'social' in mobile and social payment platforms? Re-reading Simmel and colleagues in light of the Cambrian explosion


This research considers the Cambrian explosion (Nelms, Maurer, Swartz, & Mainwaring, 2017)of mobile and social payment technologies from a perspective that integrates classical theorizing on money and payments (Mauss, 2002; Simmel, 2005), more recent work (Bandelj, Wherry, & Zelizer, 2017; Dodd, 2014; Maurer, 2015; Zelizer, 2017), as well as research coming out of the Future of Money Research Collaborative and MoneyLabat the Institute of Network Cultures at Amsterdam. Thepapernegotiatesmobile and social payment apps and the social realities that they stand upon and applies theoretical viewpoints from key authors to the emerging technologies. Based on a contemporary investigation of what ‘social’ entails in payment spaces, the paper then analyzes, via the walkthrough method (Light, Burgess, & Duguay, 2016)and a content analysis of app store material, the social nature of a selection of payment platforms.