ANSO137 | Spring | 6 ECTS

Anthropology and Finance

The 2008 financial crisis sparked vibrant debate between the discipline of economics and the broader social sciences about how to study finance beyond quantitative modeling. This course uncovers the anthropological contribution to this dialogue by exploring finance as a political, moral, and culturally constituted field of action. We begin by examining the long-standing conversation between anthropology and economics on themes such as economic reasoning, money and debt, and capitalism and inequality. The second part of the course zooms into contemporary ethnographic studies of finance across the global North and global South, focusing on the institutions, professionals, publics, and power relations that constitute the global financial apparatus. The topics covered include the stock exchange, investment banking, financial forecasting, private equity investing, microfinance, and the globalization of credit and insurance markets. We will also learn about the role of finance in post-colonial modes of economic planning, what taxation has to do with citizenship, and the influence of religion on financial practices, e.g. Islamic finance. The course assumes no prior knowledge of anthropology or economics, and encourages broad interdisciplinary debate on alternative ways of arranging the global financial system.