Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Economic Anthropology
Primary Theme: Exchange
Secondary Theme: Labor
This panel develops an approach to financialization that taps into a long anthropological tradition of subverting distinctions between supposedly separate domains of life and considering the reproduction of social relations within political and ideological systems (Godelier 1977, 18). This Marxian approach is particularly pertinent for making sense of field sites in which social reproduction relies on a financial logic that governs the transactions and balance sheets of individuals and households through their purchases, debts, savings, insurance policies, investments, credit scores, and attendant infrastructures. The reconfiguration of all aspects of social and private life by finance – in a word, financialization – requires consideration of “the economic” and “the social” as unified aspects of larger systemic processes.
Contemporary social reproduction approaches pay particularly close attention to what Marx left unexamined: the provision of housing, livelihoods and care for workers and their families, which may occur outside the circuit of commodity production while remaining essential to it (Bakker 2007; Bhattachayra 2017; Fraser 2016). As houses transform from shelter to real estate, as social and family relations become collateral, as care work is channeled by and in turn navigates financial flows, and as provisioning buckles under the pressure of debt, it behoves the new anthropological holism to perceive how these local experiences are entangled within a structured totality (Kalb 2015).
The papers in this panel will do so by looking at: the tensions between financialized households and the oil-based banking sector under crisis in Azerbaijan; the changes that “over-indebtedness” introduces into family and intergenerational relations in Greece; the interlocking dynamics of high-risk financial debts and domestic relationships in Croatia; "anti-saving" practices through which rural Brazilians undo the process of financialization and produce other modes of social reproduction; and at how social spending by the rentier Peruvian state financializes the relationship between the state and poor citizens as the latter circulate their cash transfers among kin and community through reciprocities of social reproduction.
Bakker, I. 2007. “Social reproduction and the constitution of a gendered political economy economy.” New Political Economy 12(4): 541-56.
Bhattachayra T., ed. 2017) Social reproduction theory: Remapping class, recentering oppression. London: Pluto Press.
Fraser, N. 2016. “Contradictions of capital and care.” New Left Review 100: 99-117.
Godelier, M. 1977. Perspectives in Marxist anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kalb, D. 2015. "Introduction". In: James Carrier and Don Kalb, eds, Anthropologies of class, 1-27. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.