10 episodes

SEA’s podcast, Mergers and Acquisitions demonstrates how anthropological and other perspectives can enhance and complicate understandings of economic life and contemporary events. Mergers and Acquisitions hosts interviews with leading economic anthropologists, provides reflection pieces on economic transformations and problems, and serves as a vehicle for new and established scholars to connect with each other. Recognizing that the best ideas and insights are rarely generated alone, Mergers and Acquisitions offers a collective mind-hive for furthering the study of economic life.

Mergers & Acquisitions Society for Economic Anthropology (SEA)

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

SEA’s podcast, Mergers and Acquisitions demonstrates how anthropological and other perspectives can enhance and complicate understandings of economic life and contemporary events. Mergers and Acquisitions hosts interviews with leading economic anthropologists, provides reflection pieces on economic transformations and problems, and serves as a vehicle for new and established scholars to connect with each other. Recognizing that the best ideas and insights are rarely generated alone, Mergers and Acquisitions offers a collective mind-hive for furthering the study of economic life.

    An Anthropology Day Discussion about Interdisciplinarity: A Conversation with Carli Ficano

    An Anthropology Day Discussion about Interdisciplinarity: A Conversation with Carli Ficano

    One of my favorite people to talk to is Dr. Carlena Ficano. Carli is a labor economist, an interest she marries with a passion for equity and inclusion, and for recognizing how corporate power twists economic theory into market imperfections. She is also one of the many people I met in undergrad at Hartwick College who didn't understand why I was a declared anthropology major instead of an economics major. Carli was the only one who made a good case for me to add an economics major to my anthropology major, and the rest was history.

    Carli and I have very different ways of looking at work, as researchers with disparate methodologies. She tends to wear her economics hat and I wear my anthropology hat. Yet we often see many of the same things from different perspectives. Anthropology usually invests its time in deep hanging out, which keeps us from making definitive statements about more than the very specific communities in which we work. Economists, on the other hand, use large data sets to run regression analyses and other types of quantitative methods. But rather than fighting about which perspective is more valid than the other, Carli and I discussed the ways in which these two perspectives could be married to offer a more robust picture of labor in the United States.

    Dr. Carlena Ficano is a professor of economics at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. Dr. Ficano received her Ph.D. from Cornell University, and studied anthropology and sociology during her undergraduate years. Dr. Ficano is a labor economist. In addition to her work with students at Hartwick, Dr. Ficano is thoroughly involved in economic development in rural upstate New York where she lives and works.

     

    https://econanthro.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/CarliFicano.mp3

     

    References:

    Monopsony - in economics, a monopsony is a market structure in which a single buyer substantially controls the market as the major purchaser of goods and services offered by many would-be sellers.

    Smith, C. 2021. How the Word is Passed: A Reconing with the History of Slavery in America. New York: Little, Brown & Company.

    • 33 min
    Narratives about work and the “good life”: A Conversation with Christine Jeske

    Narratives about work and the “good life”: A Conversation with Christine Jeske

    One of the many fairy tales hegemonically attached to the world of work in capitalist economies is that all one need do is get a job and work hard, and those things will automatically lead to "the good life." But what, exactly, is the good life? Is it a universal term or does it mean different things to different people in different places? What are the narratives attached to the "good life" and what are the narratives that come into play when the fairy tale does not come true? Finally, what happens when employers and employees have different ideas about the role of work in worker's lives? In this brief, free-wheeling conversation, I discuss these questions and more with Dr. Christine Jeske, author of The Laziness Myth.



    Dr. Christine Jeske is an associate professor of anthropology at Wheaton College. Prior to coming to Wheaton, Christine worked in microfinance, refugee resettlement, community development, and teaching while living in Nicaragua, Northwest China, and South Africa. Christine is the author of three books and many articles for popular and academic audiences. Her most recent book, The Laziness Myth, considers what makes work desirable, how racism shapes work, and how people find hope in undesirable working conditions.



    https://econanthro.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/ChristineJeske.mp3



    References:



    The Laziness Myth: Narratives of Work and the Good Life in South Africa by Christine Jeske



    Jeske, C. 2018. "Why Work? Do We Understand What Motivates Work-Related Decisions in South Africa?" Journal of Southern African Studies (44:1). https://doi.org/10.1080/03057070.2018.1403219



    Ferguson, J. 2016. Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.



    Jeske, C. 2022. "Introduction: Hopoes of and for Whiteness." Journal for the Anthropology of North America (25:2). https://doi.org/10.1002/nad.12172

    • 34 min
    Struggles for Energy Justice in the U.S. South: a conversation with Kristin Phillips

    Struggles for Energy Justice in the U.S. South: a conversation with Kristin Phillips

    https://econanthro.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/KristenPhillips.mp3



    Kristin Phillips, is associate professor of anthropology at Emory University. She studies inequality and activism on energy, food and environment in East Africa and the US South. Kristin won the 2020 Society for Economic Anthropology Book Prize for her book, An Ethnography of Hunger: Politics, Subsistence, and the Unpredictable Grace of the Sun (Indiana Univ. Press). 



    Since 2017, Kristin has led two National Science Foundation projects on poverty and energy -- one in East Africa and one in the southeastern US.  Our podcast focuses on her study of energy poverty and activism in Georgia connected with policies of the state’s dominant utility Georgia Power. See her article on this research in the February 2023 issue of Economic Anthropology (see references).  



    Host: Sandy Smith-Nonini, Ph.D.  an anthropologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  Edited for sound quality by: Roque Nonini. Music by Ambient Space Background. 



    NOTE:  Kristin’s  reference to an IRP in the podcast refers to a utility’s “Integrated Resource Plan.”



    References:



    Bakke, Gretchen (2016). The Grid: The Fraying Wires between Americans and our Energy Future. New York: Bloomsbury.  



    Bryan, William, and Maggie Kelley. February 2021. Energy Insecurity Fundamentals for the Southeast. Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (Atlanta). 



    Cater, Casey P. 2019. Regenerating Dixie: Electric Energy and the Modern South. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. 



    Georgia Conservation Voters Education fund (2021). “Ratepayer Robbery: The True Cost of Plant Vogtle.” Atlanta: Georgia Conservation Voters.  



    Harrison, Conor & Shelley Welton (2021). “The states that opted out: Politics, power, and exceptionalism in the quest for electricity deregulation in the United States South.” Energy Research and Social Science 79: 1-11.  



    Luke, Nikki. 2021. “Powering racial capitalism: Electricity, rate-making, and the uneven energy geographies of Atlanta.” Environment & Planning E: Nature and Space.  



    Nolin, Jill. 2021. “Feds Side with Black Voters in Suit That Says Rights Violated by At-Large PSC Elections.” Georgia Public Broadcasting, July 29, 2021. www.gpb.org. 



    Phillips, Kristin 2023 “Southern politics, southern power prices: Race, utility regulation, and the value of energy.” Economic Anthropology. 10:197–212.



    Sovacool, Benjamin K., and Michael H. Dworkin. 2015. “Energy Justice: Conceptual Insights and Practical Applications.” Applied Energy 142: 435-444.  



    US Department of Energy. Low Income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) Tool. https://www.energy.gov/eere/slsc/maps/lead-tool. Accessed May 17, 2022. 



     

    • 33 min
    Energy, the Green Transition, and Economic Anthropology: An interview with Thomas Love

    Energy, the Green Transition, and Economic Anthropology: An interview with Thomas Love

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     In this episode, Dr. Sandy Smith-Nonini interviews Dr. Tom Love, professor emeritus at Linfield College. Dr. Love discusses why energy is so important in studies of the climate transition, and why the field of anthropology is well-suited to the study of energy in terms of the field’s history and premise. Economic anthropologists, in particular, are well positioned to explore the inter-disciplinarity of energy and the economy. Sandy also drew on Tom’s past explorations of peak oil and more recently his involvement with colleagues in ongoing work in net energy (Energy Returned on Energy Invested) to interrogate why these debates remain highly relevant to the climate transition. Finally, Sandy talked with her guest about his most recent work as a co-founder and developer with other colleagues of the Planetary Limits Academic Network (PLAN) website – which is providing a forum for these discussions and for public scholarship.



    Guest Bio: Tom is emeritus professor of anthropology at Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon. He co-edited the Cultures of Energy reader with Sarah Strauss and Stephanie Rupp (Left Coast Press, 2013, 2016) and authored The Independent Republic of Arequipa (University of Texas Press, 2017). He co-edited with Cindy Isenhour a 2016 issue of Economic Anthropology on “Energy and Economy.” Tom has done field research on solar energy in rural Peru. He is a founding organizer with other scholars of PLAN –the Planetary Limits Academic Network website: https://planetarylimits.net/user/tomlove/.



    Music: Borough by Molerider at Blue Dot Sessions (www.sessions.blue).



    References:



    Campbell, C. and J. Laherrere. (1998). “The End of Cheap Oil,” Scientific American, Vol. 278, No. 3, 78- 83.



    Graeber, D. and D. Wengrow. (2021). The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.



    Hornborg, Alf. (2016). Global Magic: Technologies of Appropriation from Ancient Rome to Wal Street. Palgrave.



    _____ & C. Isenhour. (2016). Energy and Economy: Re-cognizing High Energy Modernity as an Historical Period. In Love & Isenhour, eds., Economic Anthropology, 3:1 “Energy and Economy.”



    _____ & D. Murphy (2016). Implications of Net Energy for the Food-Energy-Water Nexus; An NSF-funded workshop, Linfield College, 14-16 January.



    Mitchell, T. (2011). Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil. Verso.



    Strauss, S., S. Rupp and T. Love, eds. (2013/2016) Cultures of Energy: Power, Practices, Technologies. London: Routledge.



    Murphy, D.J.; et. al. (2022). Energy Return on Investment of Major Energy Carriers. Sustainability, 14, 7098.



    Wilhite, H. (2013/2016). Energy Consumption as Cultural Practice.

    • 40 min
    Intimate Political Economy: A Conversation with Dr. Allison Alexy

    Intimate Political Economy: A Conversation with Dr. Allison Alexy

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    In today’s episode, Xinyan Peng interviews Dr. Allison Alexy on her work that explores the intersection between intimacy and the economy. As a cultural anthropologist focusing on contemporary Japan with interest in ideals and experiences of family lives, constructions of intimacy, and legal anthropology, Dr. Alexy is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Michigan. Through the lens of family life, Dr. Alexy’s ethnographic research investigates changing norms around the social and legal constructions of gender contextualized within the rapid societal changes of recent decades. Her research makes clear that what might seem like private or personal family issues both reflect and significantly influence broader political and social trends. With Emma Cook, Dr. Alexy has co-edited the volume Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of Closeness and Conflict, and with Richard Ronald, she has co-edited the volume Home and Family in Japan: Continuity and Transformation. As part of her commitments to supporting emerging scholars and further diversifying research fields, she serves as the series editor from Asia Pop!, a book series focused on popular culture, at the University of Hawai'i Press and hosts the podcast "Michigan Talks Japan."



    Dr. Alexy’s most recent book, Intimate Disconnections: Divorce and the Romance of Independence in Contemporary Japan, considers how people negotiate freedom, happiness, and connections through divorce. It was published by the University of Chicago Press and is also available through open access. Since a Chinese version has been published by the East China Normal University Press, Xinyan also invited the Chinese translator of Dr. Alexy’s book to join the conversation. Amy Xu is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology department at Brown University.



    References:



    Cook, E. E. (2016). Reconstructing adult masculinities: part-time work in contemporary Japan. Routledge.



    Hoang, K. K. (2015). Dealing in desire: Asian ascendancy, Western decline, and the hidden currencies of global sex work. University of California Press.



    Koch, G. (2020). Healing labor: Japanese Sex Work in the Gendered Economy. Stanford University Press.



    Host: Xinyan Peng

    Guest: Dr. Allison Alexy

    Research Assistant: Wenzhao Chen

    Audio Editor: Seyma Kabaoglu

    • 42 min
    Management Consultants in China: A Conversation with Kimberly Chong

    Management Consultants in China: A Conversation with Kimberly Chong

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    In this episode, Xinyan Peng interviews Kimberly Chong about her book Best Practice: Management Consulting and the Ethics of Financialization in China. Dr. Chong speaks about how management consulting emerges as a crucial site for considering how corporate organization, employee performance, business ethics, and labor have been transformed under financialization. Effective management consultants, Dr. Chong finds, incorporate local workplace norms and assert their expertise in the particular terms of local culture and society, while at the same time framing their work in terms of global “best practices.” Providing insight into how global management consultancies refashion Chinese state-owned enterprises in the reform era, Dr. Chong explains both the dynamic, fragmented character of financialization, and how ‘global’ management consultants perform their expertise in the particular terms of China’s national project of modernization.



    References:

    Bogdanich, Walt, and Michael Forsythe. (2022). When McKinsey comes to town: The hidden influence of the world’s most powerful consulting firm. Doubleday.



    Boyer, Dominic, and George E. Marcus. (2021). Collaborative anthropology today: A Collection of Exceptions. Cornell University Press.



    McDonald, D. (2014). The firm: The story of McKinsey and its secret influence on American business. Simon & Schuster.



    Ortner, S. B. (2016). "Dark anthropology and its others: Theory since the eighties." HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 6(1), 47-73.



    Host: Xinyan Peng

    Guest: Dr. Kimberly Chong

    Research Assistant: Wenzhao Chen

    Audio Editor: Seyma Kabaoglu

    • 55 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

malloryck ,

So interesting!

A fascinating exploration!

samlindy208 ,

What a show!!!!

Love this show :-)

ErmaTheLurker ,

An Excellent Show!

This is an excellent podcast, bringing together awesome conversations centered around an interesting topic. This is a must listen!

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