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The Real Economy

Essays in Ethnographic Theory

1st Edition

This collection highlights a key metaphor in contemporary discourse about economy and society. The contributors explore how references to reality and the real economy are linked both to the utopias of collective well-being, supported by real monies and good economies, and the dystopias of financial bubbles and busts, in which people’s own lives “crash” along with the reality of their economies.
An ambitious anthropology of economy, this volume questions how assemblages of vernacular and scientific realizations and enactments of the economy are linked to ideas of truth and moral value; how these multiple and shifting realities become present and entangle with historically and socially situated lives; and how the formal realizations of the concept of the “real” in the governance of economies engage with the experiential lives of ordinary people. Featuring essays from some of the world’s most prominent economic anthropologists, The Real Economy is a milestone collection in economic anthropology that crosses disciplinary boundaries and adds new life to social studies of the economy.

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Table of Contents

The real in the real economy 
Federico Neiburg and Jane Guyer
Chapter One
The live act of business and the culture of realization 
Fabian Muniesa
Chapter Two
Deductions and counter-deductions in South Africa 
Deborah James
Chapter Three
Resisting numbers: The favela as an (un)quantifiable reality 
Eugênia Motta
Chapter Four
What is a ‘real’ transaction in high-frequency trading
Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra
Chapter Five
Soybean, bricks, dollars, and the reality of money in Argentina 
Mariana Luzzi and Ariel Wilkis
Chapter Six
A political anthropology of finance in cross-border
investment in Shanghai 
Horacio Ortiz
Chapter Seven
Corporate personhood and the competitive relation in antitrust 
Gustavo Onto
Chapter Eight
Making workers real on a South African border farm 
Maxim Bolt
Chapter Nine
How will we pay? Projective fictions and regimes of foresight
in US college finance 
Caitlin Zaloom
Chapter Ten
Smuggling realities: On numbers, borders, and performances
Fernando Rabossi
The method of the real: What do we intend with ethnographic
Bill Maurer

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