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Imaginaries of foreign investment: friction and co-constitution of international financial flows and national borders [AnthEcon] I 
Gustav Kalm (Sciences Po)
Horacio Ortiz (CNRS)
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Lanyon Building, LAN/0G/074
Thursday 28 July, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This panel analyzes how global inequalities, states, territories and national identities become articulated in the everyday workings of foreign investment. The presentations analyze foreign investment looking at the contrasting perspectives of different involved parties.

Long Abstract:

This panel studies global hierarchies of monetary distribution through a critical analysis of the imaginaries of foreign investment. Investment itself is a multifaceted category that centrally relies on ideas of profit, dedication, and control. The anthropology of finance has studied multiple forms of investment—from short-term financial speculation to long-term plans for building infrastructures, production facilities and extractive operations. This panel focuses on the global character of these operations by questioning how the fact of crossing state territory sets foreign investment apart from other financial flows. Investors often seek to profit from territorially structured differences in the levels of disposable income, the cost of labour or the strength of fiscal and environmental regulations. Over the past decades, making countries attractive to foreign capital has also become one of the leading themes that is mobilized to justify a variety of state reforms from privatization to digitalization. As strong as the desire to attract foreign investment for economic growth may be, foreign investment flows can also be shunned as (neo)colonial domination or alien occupation. A host of intermediaries facilitate the liaisons across the murky waters that separate capital holders in one country from the place in another country where their money is used. In all the various guises, foreign investment solicits very different and often contradictory imaginaries. The presentations in this panel address questions pertaining to territorial difference, statehood and national identity through ethnographies of foreign investment from a great variety of observation points.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -