Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Theodore M. Vial, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Tracy Mott

Third Advisor

Deborah Creamer


Banking, Durkheim, Monetary economics, Money, Sacrality, Theory of religion


This project attempts to answer the question "What holds the construction of money together?" by asserting that it is money's religious nature which provides the moral compulsion for people to use, and continue to uphold, money as a socially constructed concept. This project is primarily descriptive and focuses on the religious nature of money by employing a sociological theory of religion in viewing money as a technical concept. This is an interdisciplinary work between religious studies, economics, and sociology and draws heavily from Emile Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of Religious Life as well as work related to heterodox theories of money developed by Geoffrey Ingham, A. Mitchell Innes, and David Graeber.

Two new concepts are developed: the idea of monetary sacrality and monetary effervescence, both of which serve to recharge the religious saliency of money. By developing the concept of monetary sacrality, this project shows how money acts to interpret our economic relations while also obfuscating complex power dynamics in society, making them seem naturally occurring and unchangeable. The project also shows how our contemporary fractional reserve banking system contributes to money's collective effervescence and serves to animate economic acting within a monetary network. The project concludes by outlining multiple implications for religious studies, economics, sociology, and central banking.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

David J. Worley


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

220 p.


Religious Studies, Economics, Sociology