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Ethnography and Design: Mutual Provocations is made possible through funding from the UC Office of the President, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and participating units across University of California campuses.
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Friday, October 28 • 10:00am - 11:50am
Experimenting with Money, Objects, and Repertoires

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This session is intended to be an interactive workshop that will get the audience thinking about researching monetary instruments as objects of analysis to understand the complex negotiations that people make in their everyday financial lives. Drawing from IMTFI’s Consumer Finance Research Methods Toolkit Project—a collaborative project between ethnographers, applied researchers, and industry practitioners (see provided link below*)— the organizers will introduce ethnographic strategies used by industry practitioners and designers such as mapping financial flows, storyboarding, object-centered interviews and financial diaries to understand the user experience. The group as a whole will then engage in an object-centered exercise of show and tell where participants will reveal “stuff” on their person – 2 things they consider to be “financial” products and 2 that they categorize as “non-financial.” Participants will be asked to attend to the aesthetic, functional, intimate, social and other dimensions of these objects to rank them in order of importance and also divulge one money object they decided to keep private and why. The goal of the session is to highlight the ways that people operate within what we term “monetary ecologies” or assemblages of technologies, objects, property and kinship relations, land, record keeping that together, make up the world of value and exchange in people’s everyday lives. Cataloguing these entities and devices provides the opportunity to identify the relationships and flows among them and grasp what we term “monetary repertoires” or the ways people might use, deploy or manipulate the components of their monetary ecology. The object-centered exercise gets to some of the granularity in these paired concepts of monetary ecologies and repertoires and can be applied by those interested in designing financial products and services that are more suitable and better serve a community’s financial needs. An adaptation of a fieldwork method (object-centered interviews, Toolkit, p. 42) the exercise also introduces participants to a method they can easily adapt and apply to other kinds of design-objects to understand how these participate in broader cultural systems.

*Consumer Finance Research Methods Toolkit: http://www.imtfi.uci.edu/files/consumer_finance_research_methods_project/IMTFI%20Consumer%20Finance%20Research%20Methods%20Toolkit_beta%20version_Reduced%20size.pdf

avatar for Ursula Dalinghaus

Ursula Dalinghaus

Postdoctoral Scholar at the Institute for Money, Technology, & Financial Inclusion, University of California, Irvine
I am a cultural anthropologist specializing in economic anthropology and ethnographic approaches to money. My research has examined expert-public communicative encounters with the single European currency, the euro, in Germany, situating new forms of money relations in the lived... Read More →
avatar for Mrinalini Tankha

Mrinalini Tankha

Postdoctoral Scholar at the Institute for Money, Technology, & Financial Inclusion, University of California, Irvine
I am an economic and sociocultural anthropologist currently working as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion, University of California, Irvine. I am also a Research Fellow for A Sustainable Future for Exuma: Environmental Manageme... Read More →

Friday October 28, 2016 10:00am - 11:50am PDT
SSB 105