15 February 2014

The anthropology of globalization / The ethnography of finance

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Keith Hart is Professor of Economic Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Goldsmith’s, University of London. He has contributed to the concept of the informal economy to development studies and has published widely on economic anthropology.

The Memory Bank is Keith Hart’s digital archive and blog, which was created in 2000 to help publicize his book by the same name. The site includes a near final version of the book, short academic articles written and published in the last decade, and forays into journalism, stories, poetry, and film reviews.

In his latest essay, Money and finance: For an anthropology of globalization, Hart and co-author Horacio Ortiz (Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation, Paris), review recent developments in the anthropology of money and finance, listing its achievements, shortcomings and prospects, referring back to the discipline’s founders a century ago. and focusing on money’s role in shaping global society and bringing world history into a more active dialogue with ethnography.

“If the new ethnography of finance is to throw more than superficial light on society, we must transcend the categories that shape media discussion of the “crisis” and try to understand our shared human predicament as a moment in the history of money. We need new methods if we wish to account for how money underpins social identities and relations of conflict, hierarchy and interdependence in the world we are making today. This review proposes some of the tools we need, drawing first on some classical authors who combined openness to ethnographic discovery with a global vision of economic history in their times and then on contemporary anthropological research.”

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