Five Thousand, 5,000, and Five Thousands

Disentangling Ruble Quantities and Qualities

in Social Analysis
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Abstract

This article explores how affluent expatriates in urban Russia adapt to different money practices that involve numbers and quantities. The discussion centers on three analytic categories: difficult sums (5,000); denomination and usage problems (Five Thousand); and rule-of-thumb calculations (five thousands). Each category illustrates different entanglements of money quantities, qualities, and material forms. For example, quantities—exchange rates, denominations, prices—are called upon to justify moral judgments about the Russian people and their culture, as well as the country’s economy. Thus, relations involving money quantities provide ways for wealthy migrants to participate in Russian society, yet they also reinforce migrants’ separation from Russian society. This analysis also suggests that money’s multiplicities exist on a more basic, fundamental level, requiring conversion and mental reckoning across multiple currencies.

Contributor Notes

Sandy Ross has been a Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and a Sociology Fellow at the Higher School of Economics. She is currently exploring new options outside academia, particularly in policy research. With Chris Swader, she is editing a forthcoming issue on post-socialist moral economies for the Journal of Consumer Culture. She is writing a book, Weapons of the Geek: Moral Economies in the 21st Century, which will be published in 2020 by Palgrave.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

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