Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Economic Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Technology
Secondary Theme: Exchange
Previous exploration in the anthropology of finance has identified a broadness inherent to financialization. Scholars have clarified diverse and unconventional means of organizing capital within dominant financial arenas such as stock and security exchanges (i.e. Ho 2009; Miyazaki 2013) and central banks (Holmes 2014). Ethnographic attention to the neoliberal expansion of markets has shed light on social relations that support, enable and are transformed in the interface with financialization (Elyachar 2005; Schuster 2015). In this panel, we aim to combine and extend these perspectives by reflecting on public and private alternate financial flows and values of credit and debt.
Drawing on scholarship which explains how contrary to its typical definitions, financial practice extends beyond large-scale financial institutions (Maurer 2005; Guyer 2004; Roitman 2005), the papers below explore independent and unconventional means of defining credit, debt, and capital. For this, we look to Pfaffenberger’s (1992) definition of the sociotechnical: a process of engineering innovation through combining new social, economic, legal, scientific, and political conditions. From this, we examine how both familiar and unfamiliar sociotechnical assemblages come together to connect, configure and constitute “buyers” and “sellers” of different forms of capital. Papers address how diverse forms of techno-sociality serve as the basis for the production, accumulation and flow of value: innovative financial technology in Kenya as means of accumulation for entrepreneurs; family business governance as a shareholder discipline strategy in Colombia; Overseas Filipino workers as sites of “flexible accumulation” of symbolic and real capital; and phatic labor as relational capital among social science publishers in Iran. All papers explain how conditions of accumulation through debt and capital do not require the sophisticated infrastructures of modern finance, while considering what alternative forms of value transfer serve analogous functions to financial transactions.
Therefore, through our particular examples, we aim to answer the following two questions:
What forms of financial techniques do people deploy to create other forms of capital?
How do people create and manage a debt of social and cultural capital?
Elyachar, Julia. 2005. Markets of Dispossession: NGOs, Economic Development, and the State in Cairo. Durham: Duke University Press,.
Guyer, Jane. 2004. Marginal Gains: Monetary Transactions in Atlantic Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Ho, Karen. 2009. Liquidated : An Ethnography of Wall Street. Durham: Duke University Press.
Holmes, Douglas. 2014. Economy of Words: Communicative Imperatives in Central Banks. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Maurer, Bill. 2005. Mutual Life, Limited: Islamic Banking, Alternative Currencies, Lateral Reason. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Miyazaki, Hirokazu. 2013. Arbitraging Japan : Dreams of Capitalism at the End of Finance. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Pfaffenberger, Bryan. 1992. “Social Anthropology of Technology.” Annual Review of Anthropology 21: 491–516.
Roitman, Janet. 2005. Fiscal Disobedience: An Anthropology of Economic Regulation in Central Africa. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Schuster, Caroline. 2015. Social Collateral : Women and Microfinance in Paraguay’s Smuggling Economy. Oakland, California: University of California Press.