Sedyl - Structure et Dynamique des Langues - UMR8202 - CELIA

Archives de la recherche

30-11-2018Séminaire doctoral - Pratiques langagières - terrains, méthodes, théories
Animé par I. Léglise et V. Muni Toke
INALCO - 2 rue de Lille - 75007 Paris - 14h00-16h00 salle 131

Asif Agha (University of Pennsylvania)
Pecuniary Media from Cowries to Bitcoin

What role do forms of money play in social life? What variety of things do people do with varieties of money in societies around the world? How are activities involving money differentiated into registers of money-conduct in specific times and places? It has long been understood that money is intimately linked to varied forms of discursive semiosis (whether oral, written, numerical, algorithmic, customary, or law-based; whether manifest as fiscal policy, computer code, or common sense) through which distinct forms of money are created and endowed with distinct use characteristics; that specific forms of money are readily linked to (or appropriated by) group-specific interests or ideologies; and that differences in types of money-conduct readily differentiate social roles and relationships among persons and groups in social history. Yet the role of discursive semiosis in the existence and use of money is not well understood, a lacuna that links most descriptions of “money” to voicing structures (or discursive positionalities) that are not grasped for what they are by those who offer such descriptions (e.g., “speaking like the State” without knowing it). The paper shows that if we understand the role of discursive semiosis in the social life of money, we are able to ethnographically answer the questions posed at the beginning of this abstract.