2017, “Capitalist Transformations and the Social Aesthetics of Money: Money, Mountains and ‘1000 Houses’.” In: John Clammer and Ananta K. Giri (eds.). The Aesthetics of Development: Art, Culture and Social Transformation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Money has been treated as both the epitome of modernity and the universal scapegoat for capitalist transformations. “Abstract”, “modern” and “impersonal” money, it was perhaps largely claimed by those who were in a privileged position of control and possession, could not but alienate society, render all values impersonal and comparable, and thus undermine the integrity of all culture and identity. By contrast, this essay suggests that we conceive of money not as an alienable thing in the first place but as a perceptible and creative process, situated in time and space, and grounded in human agencies, values and manipulations. Ethnography is used to illustrate how we may focus far more specifically, on the memories, transformations, deeds and social aesthetics through which money is valued, transacted, experienced and brought into being – historically, spatially as well as in contemporary social, cultural and material life.