A talk by Karen Ho, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota.
While critical scholarship has made important contributions to the understandings of markets and difference, many of these approaches have focused on how dominant markets have actively depended upon, as well as excluded groups based on, hierarchies of raced, gendered, classed, sexualized, and national differences. That we better understand how capitalism depended on enslavement, how US real estate markets segregated and excluded African Americans, and how productive labor cannot be jettisoned from reproductive labor are due to this crucial research. However, we need to go further. Even as dominant, capitalist markets are depicted as exclusionary and exploitative of differences, they themselves are often held stable, and not directly analyzed as composed of particular bodies, assumptions, actions, and values. This presentation, inspired by critical race theory, cultural histories of risk and the construction of the risk-bearing individual, as well as ethnographic accounts of financial markets, examines both the underbelly of what makes financial markets possible as well as the whiteness and classed masculinity of financial markets themselves. I will explore how the very underpinnings of what makes markets and market exchange possible are arrangements of exchangeability, commensurability, and liquidity made possible, in part, through the instruments and assumptions of racial fraternity and exclusion.
Karen Ho is the author of Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (Duke University Press, 2009). Her research areas include cultural studies of finance capital; finance, globalization, and capitalism; ethnography; feminist studies; political economy; and comparative race and ethnicity.
Organized by UCLA Anthropology – Culture, Power, and Social Change. Cosponsored by the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment and the UCLA Center for the Study of Women
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