Gawain Lynch and I are happy to announce that we have just begun a new project with the IMTFI on global research in consumer finance.
Over the next eight months we will be surveying research in consumer finance globally to understand how changes in consumer finance globally are affecting consumers, and how researchers are adapting to understand consumers as they grapple with these changes.
We will be looking into research innovations in all kinds of areas — commercial operations, NGOs, government, and academia. While these sectors often have very different problems to solve, and serve distinct groups of people, they often face similar problems in understanding people’s financial behaviours. Product proliferation, changing regulatory environments, and shifting national borders are among the factors that each sector needs to take into account, even when they are attempting to understand a specific local population.
Researchers across all of these sectors are responding to global changes by innovating their approaches to understanding consumers. We stand to learn a lot from each other, but few of us have the time to look into what people in other sectors of consumer finance are doing. This project aims to bridge the knowledge gap, creating outputs that all consumer finance researchers can use. [click to continue…]
Boats being loaded with goods in Anse-à-Pitres before they sail to Marigot. Photo by Erin B. Taylor
There are many lenses through which we can think about mobility. There is no one correct lens to use; in fact, adopting different lenses at different moments can help us spot things that we may have otherwise missed.
Many anthropologists do fieldwork in places where we are strangers. One one of the major advantages of this is that it allows us to notice things that we would likely take for granted if we we insiders to the community that we were trying to study.
In a certain sense, coming from a particular disciplinary perspective makes us outsiders to any group we study – unless we are doing an ethnography of other anthropologists. But there are also times in which we risk taking our own epistemological tools for granted, and so this exercise we have done today can be useful to help us to take a step back.
In this article I adopt the lens of economics to shed light on the social mechanisms and effects of mobility. Economics is a very unpopular discipline, but it has been used for a long time, and with good reason, for studying migration and mobility, particularly in the Caribbean where I have done most of my fieldwork. But the main reason why I use economics is because it was brought to my attention by the people who I was trying to understand. [click to continue…]