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'Making Markets' Reading group

Fridays 11am-1pm, commencing 19 January 2018
Place: Staff Common Room at UCL Anthropology,
14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW

Readings will be precirculated, please contact Marissa J. Smith, marissas23@gmail.com

The year 2017 has seen a global pattern of, on the one hand, reentrenchment of now familiar techniques of technocratic governance as well as, on the other, "anti-establishment" electoral upsets.

While a number of anthropological conversations have coalesced examining the connections between these phenomena, this reading group will focus on how these and associated social fractures and fractals concern the meanings and makings of "markets," particularly as these are fields through which definitions of insider and outsider are delineated and embodied, valuables and resources are named and acquired, and moralities of exchange are negotiated, assumed, and/or imposed.

The anthropologists involved in the conversations focused on here have routinely crossed the divide between "up the anthropologist" (Nader) and more "traditional" milleus of fieldwork, but we begin with work among "elites" to foreground the contested and "cultural" character of technocratic management, which has often been characterized as "hollowing out" (Strathern) and "flattening" its others. In seeking to further develop on these conversations, we ask: How do we apply these frames beyond "the anthropology of Europe?" Should we designate some of what we are describing as "fascist" and some as "feminist?" How are ethnographic practice and other research methodologies implicated in these processes, and what other approaches might we develop?

Janine WEDEL, Collision and Collusion: The Strange Case of Western Aid To Eastern Europe

Hannah APPEL, "On Simultaneity"

Alexandra OUROUSSOFF, Wall Street at War: The Secret Struggle for the Global Economy

Laura BEAR, Navigating Austerity: Currents of Debt Along a South Asian River

Sylvia YANAGISAKO, Producing Culture and Capital: Italian Family Firms in Italy

Bill MAURER, et. al. "Social Payments: Innovation, Trust, Bitcoin, and the Sharing Economy."

Douglas HOLMES, Integral Europe: Fast-Capitalism, Neofascism, Multiculturalism

John BORNEMAN, Belonging in the Two Berlins: Kin, State, Nation

Morten PEDERSEN, "The politics of paradox: Kierkegaardian theology and national conservatism in Denmark."

Carol J. GREENHOUSE, The Paradox of Relevance: Ethnography and Citizenship in the United States

(in the case of monographs, we will focus on chapters or other excerpts of similar length)



APRIL 2017

6  April 2017 - Rebekah Plueckhahn and Lauren Bonilla "The Diverse Economies of Mega-Projects, from an Anthropological Perspective", 13th annual Mongolia Development Forum, hosted by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development

Wednesday, April 5 - Lauren Bonilla on "Extractive Atmospheres", Conflict Minerals and Artistic Practice workshop,  hosted by Arts Catalyst.


"Emerging Subjects" in the local Mongolian Media: IKON Next Horizon: http://www.ikon.mn/n/h6x & http://jargaldefacto.com/new-colour-in-mongolian-studies/


16 November 2016 - Ulaanbaatar, National University of Mongolia - Emerging Subjects workshop on the theme of Mongolian-Made Capitalism

Second week of November: the project's 10 researchers will undertake a formal visit to Oyu Tolgoi and Energy Resources, large mine sites in the Gobi desert


07 October 2016 - Emerging Subjects Team presenting at the 30th Anniversary of MIASU, University of Cambridge

11 October 2016 - The Emerging Subjects group were invited to a meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to discuss their research.

ES at FCO 2016

20 October 2016 - Offices of Brown Rudnick, London - Talk by Rebecca Emspson and Bumochir Dulam at the ' Doing Business with Mongolia ' Seminar

Rsz Brown Rudnick

Rsz Brown Rudnick2


In September the Emerging Subjects team hosted two meetings at UCL with Bill Bikales, author of a recent article on Mongolia's debt for the Wall Street Journal: http://www.wsj.com/articles/mongolia-faces-a-debt-crisis-1470331031 and June Taboroff from the Asian Development Bank, working on the redevelopment of the ger districts in Ulaanbaatar. 


16 February 2016 - University of Cambridge, Mongolian and Inner Asia Studies Unit - Joseph Bristley, University College London: "Enumerative Stalling and the Precarious Production of Value in Mongolia"


13 January 2016 -  UCL Anthropology - Research meeting with Gregory Delaplace (Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense)

27th January2016 -   UCL Anthropology - Prof Hanne Petersen, University of Copenhagen:  "Legal cultures in Greenland and Mongolia".


The new Inner Asia Journal issue ( Volume 17, Issue 1, 2015) on economy and politics in Inner Asia, co-edited by Rebecca Empson and Professor Caroline Humphrey, has come out.


18 December 2015 - University of Copenhagen. "When the Party was Cancelled: Economic Innovation and Adaptability in Mongolia", Talk by Rebecca Empson
JUNE 2015

09 June 2015 - Department of Anthropology, UCL, Workshop:  Figuring out the Future Emerging subjects and the flux of the economic present cu - rrent Mongolian economy.

26 June 2015 - Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, Rebecca Empson: talk at the 'Food for Thought' Series

MAY 2015

16 May 2015 - Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Rebecca Empson: An Economy of Temporary Possession

20 May 2015 - UCL Anthropology, Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa: Lessons and Challenges of Mongolia's Economic Transition

12 May 2015 - University of Cambridge, Mongolian and Inner Asia Studies Unit Lauren Bonilla:  Extractive Atmospheres: Mining, Territory, and the Politics of Dust in the Gobi Desert

APRIL 2015

28 April 2015 - University of Cambridge, Mongolian and Inner Asia Studies Unit Bumochir Dulam​: The Tragedy of 'Environmental Pastoralism' in Building Mongolian Identity

MARCH 2015

Some of the team with Natasha Fijn (ANU) and Marissa Smith (Princeton) at our final research meeting of the term.

20 March 2015 - Marissa Smith (Princeton University) Drinking Together: to Expand and to Risk the Workplace and the Household.

18 March 2015 - Uranchimeg Ujeed (Emerging Subjects Team, UCL): Becoming Healers to be Healed - Horchin Mongolian Shamanic Healing Practices in contemporary China

11 March  2015 - Dr Hanna Knox and Prof Andrew Barry (UCL,Department of Geography)

04 March 2015 - Joseph Bristley (PhD Student, UCL Anthropology): Animal Economics: Exchange, Personhood, and Temporality in Mongolia


25 February 2015 - Saskia Abrahms-Kavunenko (research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology as part of the 'Buddhist Temple Economies in Urban Asia' research group): Spiritually Enmeshed, Socially Enmeshed: Shamanism and Belonging in Ulaanbaatar (Research Group Meeting) 

23 February 2015: Blog post "Digital Politics in Mongolia"  by our team for the Material World blog.

11 February 2015 - Tsogsag Nyamdavaa (PhD Candidate, LSE): Mongolian economy (Research Group Meeting)

04 February 2015 - Delger Enkhbayar (PhD Candidate, LSE): Development in Mongolia (Research Group Meeting)

03 February 2015 - Talk by Rebekah Plueckhan (Emerging Subjects Team, UCL): Performing Value, Forming Resources: Morality, Musical Performance and Social Continuation in Mongolia


28 January 2015 - Andrew Laurie (UN):  Biodiversity Conservation in Mongolia - planning and implementation. (Research Group Meeting)

14 January 2015 - Gisa Weszkalny (Assistant Professor in anthropology at LSE): Geology, potentiality, speculation: on the indeterminacy of natural resources.
(Research Group Meeting)


Kirsten Livermore visited UCL Anthropology Department on 10 December 2014.  Kirsten Ivermore was a Federal MP representing an electorate in Queensland (a big mining state) in Australia from 1998-2013.  She also played a leading role in establishing Mongolia-Australian relations around the mining industry and educational development through her chairmanship of the Australia-Mongolia Friendship Group.  Recently, she finished a masters in International Development at LSE.


UCL Postdoctorate Dr Rebekah Plueckhahn wins the 2014 Article Prize given by the Australian Anthropology Society (AAS).


Emerging Subjects in the 2014 edition of UCL's flagship magazine for alumni and supporters