19. The Contemporary World of Finance

  1. D. Douglas Caulkins2 and
  2. Ann T. Jordan3
  1. Allen W. Batteau

Published Online: 2 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118325513.ch19

A Companion to Organizational Anthropology

A Companion to Organizational Anthropology

How to Cite

Batteau, A. W. (2012) The Contemporary World of Finance, in A Companion to Organizational Anthropology (eds D. D. Caulkins and A. T. Jordan), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118325513.ch19

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell, USA

  2. 3

    University of North Texas, USA

Author Information

  1. Wayne State University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 2 OCT 2012
  2. Published Print: 29 OCT 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405199827

Online ISBN: 9781118325513



  • anthropological literature;
  • financial institutions;
  • global finance;
  • globalization;
  • organizational anthropology;
  • reciprocity


In the past 20 years, a substantial anthropological literature has emerged on money, modern finance and financial institutions, and particularly on their impact on the communities traditionally studied by anthropologists. The objective of the chapter is to identify specific points at which organizational anthropology is contributing to the effort, and how anthropologists might pragmatically employ these findings in the realm of global finance. It discusses the changing nature of money as a store of value, a unit of account, and a medium of circulation. Human societies are stitched together in circuits of reciprocity and exchange. Anthropological critiques of globalization and neoliberalism are an important part of the anthropological studies of finance of recent years. The role of the organizational anthropologist in the changing financescape would be that of an intellectual arbitrageur: identifying objects of value in one discourse and translating them into the discourse of contemporary financial institutions.