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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Lecture: "About Calculations and Social Currencies: Indigenous Household's Financial Practices in the Highlands of Chiapas"

Thu, October 31, 2013 • 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM • Hackett Room, SRH 1.313

In a region that is considered one of the poorest in Mexico and still largely based on a “milpa system”, barter and reciprocal hand, the indigenous way of life is facing important changes. People’s everyday financial practices—critical as they are to understanding poverty and wellbeing—are forged within certain constraints having to do with scope for calculability. We argue that arithmetic is signified in the light of beliefs, fears, and hopes in the struggles for certainty and adaptation and the negotiations with modernity. This has important implications for an understanding of everyday economic life.

Magdalena Villarreal is Senior Researcher and Professor at the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS) Occidente in Guadalajara, Mexico. She is currently co-director of two research projects: one on poverty and aging in collaboration with the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores Occidente (ITESO) at the Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara, and one on financial practices in Mexican and Indian rural communities with the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Villarreal received a PhD in the sociology of rural development and an MSC in the management of agricultural knowledge systems from Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and a BA in history from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Her research expertise includes poverty, indigenous issues, finance and development issues, migration and human rights, social policy, and gender issues. Her recent publications include “Cashing Identities: Debt in the Non-material World of Money among Rural Mexicans,” and “Introduction. Defying Poverty: Myths of Economic Control and Power” in Paerregaard, Karsten, and Webster (eds.), The Byways of the Poor: Organizing Practices and Economic Control in the Developing World (Denmark: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2012), and a coauthored article, “About Calculations and Social Currencies: Indigenous Households’ Financial Practices in the Highlands of Chiapas.”

For more information, contact Paloma Diaz.


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