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Money at the Margins: Global Perspectives on Technology, Financial Inclusion, and Design

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Volume 6

The Human Economy

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Money at the Margins

Global Perspectives on Technology, Financial Inclusion, and Design

Edited by Bill Maurer, Smoki Musaraj, and Ivan V. Small

334 pages, 22 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-653-9 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (March 2018)

ISBN  978-1-78920-048-5 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (March 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78533-654-6 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“[This volume]… is a welcome addition that describes, often in vibrant detail, how people are already engaging in financial activities and how their acts of saving, loaning, hedging, and investing are intimately linked to performances of personhood, understandings of morality, and even expressions of desire… The collection offers insights for scholars and policy makers alike who are concerned with the consequences and futures of payment systems for the unbanked. The volume will also work in the classroom, as the chapters offer compelling case studies that do justice to the tremendous variation and the social complexity of people’s monetary repertoires and payment systems, underscoring how the margins are not examples of failed development but rather sites that generate insight and innovation.” • Current Anthropology

“Indispensable reading material for scholars as well as industry specialists interested in payment infrastructures and the questions of money and value, this book entails fruitful applications for classroom use. One can hope that this innovative volume will inspire a similarly creative following that continues to combine empirical and industry-based insights with those of anthropological theory, along with an inclusive platform of diverse collaborators.” • American Ethnologist

“This very important collection adds unique ethnographic case studies from a wide variety of geographic contexts to the growing literature on financial inclusion.” • Anke Schwittay, University of Sussex


Mobile money, e-commerce, cash cards, retail credit cards, and moreas new monetary technologies become increasingly available, the global South has cautiously embraced these mediums as a potential solution to the issue of financial inclusion. How, if at all, do new forms of dematerialized money impact people’s everyday financial lives? In what way do technologies interact with financial repertoires and other socio-cultural institutions? How do these technologies of financial inclusion shape the global politics and geographies of difference and inequality? These questions are at the heart of Money at the Margins, a groundbreaking exploration of the uses and socio-cultural impact of new forms of money and financial services.

Bill Maurer is Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Anthropology and Law, University of California, Irvine. He is the Director of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI), and author of How Would You Like to Pay? How Technology is Changing the Future of Money (2015) among many other publications.

Smoki Musaraj is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Director of Study of the Anthropology Honors Tutorial Program at Ohio University. She has published in various scholarly journals, including Cultural Anthropology, Ethnologie Française, Përpjekja, Anthropology of East Europe Review, and Current Anthropology.

Ivan V. Small is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Studies at Central Connecticut State University. He is author of Currencies of Imagination: Channeling Money and Chasing Mobility in Vietnam (Cornell University Press, 2018). He has consulted for various think tanks, foundations and nonprofit organizations including the Smithsonian, India China Institute, Ford Foundation, and World Policy Institute.

Subject: Anthropology (General) Political and Economic Anthropology Cultural Studies (General)


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Money and Finance at the Margins
Smoki Musaraj and Ivan V. Small


The Question of Inclusion
Ananya Roy

Chapter 1. A Living Fence: Financial Inclusion and Exclusion on the Haitian-Dominican Republic Border
Erin B. Taylor and Heather A. Horst

Chapter 2. Capital Mobilization among Somali Refugee Business Community in Nairobi, Kenya
Kenneth Omeje and John Mwangi Githigaro

Chapter 3. The Use of Mobile-Money Technology among Vulnerable Populations in Kenya: Opportunities and Challenges for Poverty Reduction
Ndunge Kiiti and Jane Wanza Mutinda


What do Value and Wealth Do? “Life” Goes On, Whatever “Life” Is.
Jane I. Guyer

Chapter 4. Dhikuti Economies: The Moral and Social Ecologies of Rotating Finance in the Kathmandu Valley
Sepideh Azarshahri Bajracharya

Chapter 5. Chiastic Currency Spheres: Postsocialist “Conversions” in Cuba’s Dual Economy
Mrinalini Tankha

Chapter 6. Carola and Saraswathi: Juggling Wealth in India and in Mexico
Magadalena Villarreal, Isabelle Guérin, and K. S. Santosh Kumar


Infrastructures of Digital Money
Jenna Burrell

Chapter 7. ‘Financial Inclusion Means Your Money Isn’t With You’: Conflicts over Social Grants and Financial Services in South Africa
Kevin P. Donovan

Chapter 8. Social Networks of Mobile Money in Kenya
Sibel Kusimba, Gabriel Kunyu, and Elizabeth Gross

Chapter 9. Accounting in the Margin: Financial Ecologies in between Big and Small Data
José Ossandón, Tomás Ariztía, Macarena Barros, and Camila Peralta


Design and Practice
Joshua E. Blumenstock

Chapter 10. Understanding Social Relations and Payments among Rural Ethiopians
Woldmariam F. Mesfin

Chapter 11. Delivering Cash Grants to Indigenous Peoples through Cash Cards versus Over-the-Counter Modalities: The Case of the 4Ps Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Palawan, Philippines
Anatoly "Jing" Gusto and Emily Roque

Chapter 12. Effects of Mobile Banking on the Savings Practices of Low Income Users: The Indian Experience
Mani A. Nandhi

Chapter 13. Betting on Chance in Colombia: Using Empirical Work on Game Networks to Develop Practical Design Guidelines
Ana María Echeverry and Coppelia Herrán Cuartas

Bill Maurer


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