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Money Counts: Revisiting Economic Calculation

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Volume 10

Studies in Social Analysis

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Money Counts

Revisiting Economic Calculation

Edited by Mario Schmidt and Sandy Ross
Afterword by Nigel Dodd

142 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-684-5 $120.00/£89.00 Hb Published (January 2020)

ISBN  978-1-78920-685-2 $27.95/£22.95 Pb Published (January 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-686-9 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $27.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This compact collection focuses on money as number, seen from a wide range of perspectives. The style is impressively dialectical, offering hope that anthropologists may soon be open to more promising ways of engaging with money.” • Keith Hart, University of Pretoria

“Why do anthropologists get so uncomfortable when it comes to working with (and on) numbers? This book provides answers and exemplifies what a quantity-embracing, yet ethnographically rich, economic anthropology can look like.” • Stefan Leins, University of Konstanz


Traditionally viewed as an abstraction, the quantitative nature of money is essential in evaluating the relationship between monetary systems and society. Money Counts moves beyond abstraction, exploring the conceptual diversity and everyday enactment of money’s quantity. Drawing from case studies including British jewelers, blood-money payments in Germanic law codes, and the quotidian use of money in cosmopolitical Moscow, a Western Kenyan village, and socialist Havana, the chapters in this volume offer new theoretical and empirical interpretations of money’s quantitative nature as it relates to abstraction, sociality, materiality, freedom, and morality.

Mario Schmidt is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School of the Humanities at the University of Cologne. He has published in journals including Africa, Ethnohistory, and HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory. His research interests include the rise of behavioral economics in East Africa, the importance of part-whole relations for an understanding of money, and the impact of concepts from the natural sciences on the development of Émile Durkheim’s and Marcel Mauss’s thought.

Sandy Ross has been a Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, and a Sociology Fellow at the Higher School of Economics. With Chris Swader, she is editing a forthcoming issue on post-socialist moral economies for the Journal of Consumer Culture, and her newest book, Weapons of the Geek: Moral Economies in the 21st Century, will be published in 2020 by Palgrave.

Subject: Sociology Political and Economic Anthropology


Introduction: The Quality of Quantity: Monetary Amounts and Their Materialities
Sandy Ross, Mario Schmidt, and Ville Koskinen

Chapter 1. Is Gold Jewelry Money?
Peter Oakley

Chapter 2. Injury and Measurement: Jacob Grimm on Blood Money and Concrete Quantification
Anna Echterhölter

Chapter 3. Five Thousand, 5,00, and Five Thousands: Disentangling Ruble Quantities and Qualities
Sandy Ross

Chapter 4. “Money is Life:” Quantity, Social Freedom, and Combinatory Practices in Western Kenya
Mario Schmidt

Chapter 5. Money and Morality of Commensuration: Currencies of Poverty in Post-Soviet Cuba
Martin Holbraad

Chapter 6. ‘Money on the Street’ as a Hoard: How Informal Moneylenders Remain Unbanked
Martin Fotta

Chapter 7. What is Money? A Definition Beyond Materiality and Quantity
Emanuel Seitz

Nigel Dodd

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