Speculating (on the Digital and the Monetary)

in Social Analysis
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  • 1 University of Toronto yangliu.liu@mail.utoronto.ca
  • 2 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee malaby@uwn.edu
  • 3 University College London d.miller@ucl.ac.uk
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Scholarship has frequently struggled with several pairs of dichotomies as it has sought to understand the digital: real vs. virtual, authentic vs. mediated, openness (freedom) vs. closure (control), and community vs. network. In order to make conceptual headway without falling into these traps, we turn in this article to the concept of indexicality. We urge an account of the digital that sees it as a resource for social action, one with the capacity to reduce and abstract as well as to differentiate and proliferate, recognizing both of these as potential projects that social actors may undertake. We offer the operation of money as an instructive analogy for how we may identify both the abstracting and the specifying dimensions of the digital.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

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