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Malinowski Memorial Lecture

13 May 2014

Malinowski Memorial Lecture


The podcast of the lecture is available now. Listen to the podcast.

Dr Rebecca Empson is to give the Malinowski Memorial Lecture this year at the London School of Economics on Thursday 22 May 2014, 6-7pm. Her lecture is entitled: An Economy of Temporary Possession.

In this lecture Rebecca outlines an economy based on the temporary, rather than outright possession of resources and commodities. Ethnographic evidence shows that such transient forms of possession can come to shape the very financial forms we might have assumed were incompatible with them. Mongolians located at the periphery of financial centres thereby come to shape wider economic practices that impact upon what we have understood capitalism to be. Theoretically, this may be taken as a broader critique of the idea of the ‘performativity of economics’ and the need to acknowledge the complex motivations that drive people toward different kinds of economic activity, including emotive feelings of trust, secrecy and uncertainty, as well the politics of accumulation in a rapidly changing landscape of economic potential.

Rebecca Empson is a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at UCL. She works in Mongolia on ideas about kinship, economics and material culture. Her monograph, Harnessing Fortune: Personhood, Memory and Place in Mongolia is published by Oxford University Press (2011). In September this year she will begin a new ERC-funded project exploring the form of capitalism emerging in Mongolia’s mineral economy, entitled: Emerging Subjects of the New Economy: Tracing Economic Growth in Mongolia.

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