Erin B. Taylor

Talking about mobile money at the MoneyLab conference at the Institute for Network Cultures in March 2014.

Research Fellow
ICS-UL
erin.taylor@ics.ul.pt

Principal Consultant
Canela Consulting
erin.taylor@canela-group.com
+31 702 500 333

Current focus

I am an economic anthropologist specializing in consumer finance research. I recently lead the Consumer Finance Research Methods Project, a collaboration with the IMTFI. The main output of this research was the Consumer Finance Research Methods Toolkit.

My new research project investigates an apparent mismatch between the mobility of people and the mobility of consumer finance products in Europe. “Digital finance” is meant to make products accessible and usable across national borders, yet it rarely works as expected. European residents crossing borders regularly run into problems using financial products away from home (such as credit cards, other payments mechanisms, insurance, pensions, etc.)

Background

In 2003, after a stint of working in the UK, I enrolled in a PhD at the University of Sydney under the supervision of Professor Diane Austin-Broos. As an undergraduate I had spent three months in Chile, so I decided to head to a Spanish-speaking country in order to put my language skills to use. For fifteen months I lived in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, spending most of my time living in a squatter settlement.

This research resulted in a book, Materializing Poverty: How the Poor Transform their Lives (2013, AltaMira), which explores how squatter settlement residents use their material environment to change their social and economic lives. I am also the editor of Fieldwork Identities in the Caribbean (2010, Caribbean Studies Press).

From 2008-2010 I lectured full-time in the Department of Anthropology at The University of Sydney, Australia, directing the Global Studies degree and teaching Anthropology Honours, Reading Ethnography, Economic Anthropology, Urban Anthropology, and Introductory Anthropology.

From 2010-2012 I worked with with Dr. Heather Horst and Dr. Espelencia Baptiste on a project called Mobiles, Migrants and Money: A Study of Mobility in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, funded by the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI) at the University of California, Irvine.

An exciting outcome of the research was our surprise collaboration with the British Museum. We collected money-related objects from Haiti, which were displayed in the Museum’s Citi Money Gallery when it was re-launched in 2012. One of our artefacts was even featured on the Museum’s giant posters in the London Underground.

In July 2011 I took up the position of postdoctoral research fellow at the Instituto de Ciências Sociais at the Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal. This research-only position saw me returning to the field, this time to the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, with Gawain Lynch and Heather Horst, in 2012.

Education

Ph.D. in anthropology, University of Sydney (2009)
B.A. in anthropology (Honours I), University of Newcastle (2002)
B.f.A. in sculpture and art history, University of Newcastle (1999)

Affiliations

Researcher at the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion
Research Associate at Digital Ethnography Research Centre, RMIT, Melbourne
Managing Editor at PopAnth: Hot Buttered Humanity
Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Cultural Economy
Member of the Steering Committee for Charisma: Consumer Market Studies