Author:Charles Dolph (Graduate Center, City University of New York)
Paper short abstract:
This paper analyzes the dynamics of hoarding in contemporary Argentina. Probing the relation between control over a symbolic hoard and the production of memory and history, it attends to how the Kirchnerist state deployed money's fungibility to narrate the body politic.
Paper long abstract:
This paper analyzes the dynamics of hoarding that shaped the second Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (CFK) administration in Argentina (2011-15) in terms of political claims over memory and national history. While exchange controls implemented by the administration created sociopolitical conflicts over access to foreign exchange markets, recent scholarship in exchange theory and the anthropology of money emphasizes how, beyond the technical aspects of state monetary policies, hoarding practices are entangled with subject formation and the delineation of community boundaries. I thus read hoarding in a symbolic register to examine how the Kirchnerist state narratively linked money and debt with memory, history, and the body politic. In her inauguration of a research center amid the liminal moment of 2015 elections, CFK highlighted state investment in Argentina's National Genetic Data Bank and its work of "restituting identities" of people abducted during the 1976-83 dictatorship. Linking the upcoming presidential runoff vote to postdictatorship debates over memory and indebtedness as well as foundational 19th century conflicts over nationhood, this inauguration built on her administration's launch of a commemorative 100-peso banknote in homage to human rights groups that included an image of the human DNA sequence. By inquiring into the relation between control over a hoard and the production of memory and history, I argue that the Kirchnerist state deployed money's fungibility to inscribe pivotal 2015 elections within its broader narrative of historical revisionism, thus blurring distinctions between victory and defeat, past and future, and individual and collective identities.
Hoarding, temporality, and value: regimes of accumulation and dispersal