The social nature of money

July 11th 2017

Popular culture tends to depict money as something that people are greedy for or afraid of. We are either trying to get more money to fuel our consumption habits, or we’re trying to avoid facing our financial realities. But in fact, people's relationship with money is largely social. 

In a recent post on the EPIC blog, How to Talk about Money: Ethnographic Approaches to Financial Life, I discuss what people find interesting about money and explore ways we can research people's relationships with it and (through money) with each other. 

You can read the full post here

Introducing the Consumer Finance Research Methods Toolkit

April 20th 2016

Gawain Lynch and I are happy to announce that the CFRM Toolkit is now available. The Toolkit is the final product of our Consumer Finance Research Methods Project, which produced a paper and several blog posts to assist researchers in adapting to changing conditions in consumer finance globally and to better understand the consumers of financial products.

Caribbean Fantasy: A documentary set in Santo Domingo's barrios

April 1st 2016

I'm always interested in new accounts of life in Santo Domingo's barrios. Having done research there for more than a decade, I like to retain a sense of place: what's changed, what's stayed the same.

Johanné Gómez Terrero's new documentary, Caribbean Fantasy, reminds me that even though the quality of life in the poverty-stricken regions of Santo Domingo is improving, for many people living there life remains hard, and problems insurmountable.

Taking on debt: Perspectives from across the social sciences

August 24th 2015

Understanding why households become over-indebted is a crucial step to planning interventions at the level of the consumer or through policy, but it is not a straightforward task.

While it is tempting to focus on “over-indebtedness,” there are vastly different schools of thought as to how to define what that means, why people become take on unsustainable debt, and what can be done about it.