Selected Publications

Publications below are divided into the following subcategories: Mobile/Digital Money, Anthropology of Finance and Money, Offshore Finance, Law and Globalization, Islamic Finance, Review Essays, and Personal Favorites. Scroll down for each topical area. These electronic articles are posted for individual, noncommercial use to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly work. They are intended for teaching and training purposes only. Articles may not be reposted or disseminated without permission by the copyright holder. Copyright holders retain all rights as indicated within each article.

See CV for full list of publications, including books.

You may be able to access more of my publications on the University of California’s e-scholarship repository..


Finance as ‘bizarre bazaar’: Using documents as a source of ethnographic knowledge. Daniel Tischer, Bill Maurer, and Adam Leaver. Organization, advance online version available, 2018, at

Mobile/digital money/blockchain

Bill Maurer, Smoki Musaraj, and Ivan Small, eds. Money at the Margins: Global Perspectives on  Technology, Financial Inclusion and Design. New York and Oxford: Berghahn, 2017.

Social payments: Innovation, trust, Bitcoin and the sharing economy. By the Future of Money Research Collaborative (T. Nelms, B. Maurer, L. Swartz, S. Mainwaring), Theory, Culture and Society 35(3):13-33, 2017.

Money as token and money as record in distributed accounts. In Distributed Agency, ed. by N. J. Enfield and Paul Kockelman, Oxford University Press, 2017.

Blockchains are a Diamond’s Best Friend: Zelizer for the Bitcoin Moment. In Money Talks, edited by Nina Bandelj, Frederick Wherry and Viviana Zelizer. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017.

Re-risking in Realtime. On Possible Futures for Finance after the Blockchain. Behemoth: A Journal on Civilization, 9(2), 2016.

Ledgers and law in the blockchain. Quinn DuPont and Bill Maurer. King’s Review, June 23, 2015.

Wild, Wild West: A View from Two California School Marms. Bill Maurer and Lana Swartz. In MoneyLab, Edited by Geert Lovink et al. Institute for Network Cultures, pp.221-229.

‘When perhaps the real problem is money itself:’ The practical materiality of Bitcoin. Bill Maurer, Taylor Nelms and Lana Swartz. Social Semiotics, 2013. DOI:10.1080/10350330.2013.777594.

‘Bridges to cash:’ channeling agency in mobile money. Bill Maurer, Taylor Nelms and Stephen Rea. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 19(1):52-74, 2013.

Late to the party: debt and data. Social Anthropology 20(4):474-481, 2012.

Payment: Forms and Functions of Value Transfer in Contemporary Society. Cambridge Anthropology 30(2):15-35, 2012. Available here.

Credit slips (but should not fall). Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory DOI:10.1080/1600910X.2012.697074, 2012.

Mobile money: Communication, consumption and change in the payments space. Journal of Development Studies, 48(5): 589-604, 2012.

An emerging platform: From money transfer system to mobile money ecosystem. Jake Kendall, Philip Machoka, Clara Veniard and Bill Maurer. Innovations 6(4):49-64, 2012.

Regulation as retrospective ethnography: mobile money and the arts of cash. Banking and Finance Law Review 27 (2): 299-313, 2012.

Mobile money, money magic, purse limits and pins: tracing monetary pragmatics. Journal of Cultural Economy, 2011, 4:3, 349-359.

Finger counting money. Anthropological Theory, 10(1&2): 179-185, 2010.

“Work in progress: Electronic payments systems” 2008. This is a review essay written mainly for a policy and philanthropy audience. It has since been supplanted by others’ review essays – notably, Duncombe and Boateng 2009 – but I leave it here since people have told me it remains useful to their work.

From meiwaku to tokushita!: lessons for digital money design from Japan. Scott Mainwaring, Wendy March and Bill Maurer. Proceedings of the twenty-sixth annual SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp.21-24. [Winner, Best Research Note Award, SIGCHI Conference] [also here]

Anthropology of finance and money

Wait for it…. The Cultural History of Money, 6 volumes. Bill Maurer, General Editor. London: Bloomsbury, 2019.

Lauren Tooker & Bill Maurer (2015): The pragmatics of payment: adventures in first-person economy with Bill Maurer, Journal of Cultural Economy, DOI: 10.1080/17530350.2015.1077157, or

Materiality, Symbol, and Complexity in the Anthropology of Money. Taylor C. Nelms and Bill Maurer (2014). In The Psychological Science of Money. Edited by E.H. Bijleveld & H. Aarts. New York: Springer, 37-70.

Transacting ontologies: Kockelman’s sieves and a Bayesian anthropology. Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory., 2013.

Postscript: Is There Money In Credit? Consumption, Markets and Culture, 2013.

David Graeber’s Wunderkammer: Debt: The First 5000 Years. Anthropological Forum, 2013.

The disunity of finance: alternative practices to western finance. In the Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Finance. Karin Knorr Cetina and Alex Preda, eds. Oxford University Press, pp. 413-430, 2013.

Money Bodies. Bill Maurer and Elham Mireshghi. In Body/State. Angus Cameron, Jen Dickinson, and Nicole Smith, eds. Ashgate, pp. 85-94, 2013.

Anthropology with business: plural programs and future financial worlds. Bill Maurer and Scott Mainwaring. Journal of Business Anthropology 1(2) 2012.

Late to the party: debt and dataSocial Anthropology 20(4):474-481, 2012.

Payment: Forms and Functions of Value Transfer in Contemporary SocietyCambridge Anthropology 30(2):15-35, 2012.

Credit slips (but should not fall). Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory DOI:10.1080/1600910X.2012.697074, 2012.

Theorizing the Contemporary: Finance. Edited by Bill Maurer. Special online collection, Cultural Anthropology website, May, 2012.

Accidents of equity and the aesthetics of Chinese offshore incorporation. Bill Maurer and Sylvia J. Martin. American Ethnologist 39(3): 597-544, 2012.

Money Nutters. Economic Sociology_The European Electronic Newsletter 12(3): 5-12, July, 2011.

Moral Economies, Economic Moralities: Consider the Possibilities! In Katherine Browne and Lynne Milgram, eds. Economics and Morality : Anthropological Approaches. Society for Economic Anthropology. AltaMira Press, 257-269, 2009.

Re-socialising Finance? Or Dressing it in Mufti? Calculating Alternatives for Cultural Economies. Journal of Cultural Economy 1(1):65-78, 2008.

“Does Money Matter? Abstraction and Substitution in Alternative Financial Forms.” In Daniel Miller, ed. Materiality. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005, pp.140-164.

Uncanny Exchanges: The Possibilities and Failures of Making Change with Alternative Monetary Forms.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 2003, 21(3):317-340.

Repressed Futures: Financial Derivatives Theological Unconscious.Economy and Society 31(1):15-36, 2002.

Forget Locke? From Proprietor to Risk-Bearer in New Logics of Finance.” Public Culture 11.2 (1999): 365-385.


Finance as ‘bizarre bazaar’: Using documents as a source of ethnographic knowledge. Daniel Tischer, Bill Maurer, and Adam Leaver. Organization, advance online version available, 2018, at

Jurisdiction in dialect: Sovereignty games in the British Virgin Islands. In European Integration and Postcolonial Sovereignty Games. R. Adler-Nissen and U. P. Gad, eds. Routledge, 2013, pp. 130-144.

Accidents of equity and the aesthetics of Chinese offshore incorporation. Bill Maurer and Sylvia J. Martin. American Ethnologist 39(3): 597-544, 2012.

From Anti-Money laundering to… what? The aftermath of “compliance” for offshore financial services. In Anne Clunan and Harold Trinkhaus, eds. Ungoverned Spaces: Alternatives to State Sovereignty in an Era of Softened Sovereignty. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010.

From the Revenue Rule to Soft Law and Back Again: The Consequences for “Society” of the Social Governance of International Tax Competition. In Julia Eckert, Keebet von Benda Beckmann and Franz von Benda Beckmann, eds. Rules of Law and Laws of Ruling. London: Ashgate, pp.217-235, 2009.

Re-regulating offshore finance? Geography Compass 2(1):155-175, 2008.

Incalculable payments: money, scale and the South African offshore Grey Money Amnesty. African Studies Review 50(2):125-138, 2007.

“Due Diligence and ‘Reasonable Man,’ Offshore.” Cultural Anthropology, 2005, 20(4):474-505.

“Cyberspatial Properties: Taxing Questions about Proprietary Regimes.” In C. Humphrey and K. Verdery, eds. Property in Question: Value Transformation in the Global Economy. Oxford: Berg, 2004, pp. 297-318.

“A Fish Story: Rethinking Globalization on Virgin Gorda.” American Ethnologist 27.3 (2000): 670-701. [available through AnthroSource,]

“Cyberspatial Sovereignties: Offshore Finance, Digital Cash, and the Limits of Liberalism.” Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 5.2 (1998): 493-519.

Islands in the Net: Re-wiring Technological and Financial Circuits in the Offshore Caribbean.” Comparative Studies in Society and History. Summer 2001.

Complex Subjects: Offshore Finance, Complexity Theory, and the Dispersion of the Modern.Socialist Review. 25 (3&4): 114-145.

Law and globalization

“In the Mirror: The Legitimation Work of Globalization.” Susan Coutin, Bill Maurer and Barbara Yngvesson. Law and Social Inquiry. 27(4): 801-843, 2002.

The Cultural Power of Law? Conjunctive Readings.” Law and Society Review, 2004, 38(4):843-850.

Got Language? Law, Property, and the Anthropological Imagination.” American Anthropologist, 2003, 105(4):775-781.

“Visions of Fact, Languages of Evidence: History, Memory and the Trauma of Legal Research.” Law and Social Inquiry 26(4):893-909, 2001.

Review essays

Finance 2.0. In  A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, Second Edition. James Carrier, ed. Edward Elgar Publishers, Ltd., pp. 183-201.

Economy. In A Handbook of Sociocultural Anthropology. James Carrier and Deborah Gewertz, eds. Edward Elgar Publishers, in press.

“In the Matter of Marxism,” in Chris Tilley et al., eds., Handbook of Material Culture. Oxford: Sage, 2006, 13-28.

The Anthropology of Money.” Annual Review of Anthropology, 2006, 35:15-36.

“Introduction: Ethnographic Emergences.” American Anthropologist, 2005, 107(2):1-4. [available through AnthroSource,]

Finance. In A Handbook of Economic Anthropology. James Carrier, ed. Edward Elgar Publishers, Ltd., 176-193.

“Please Destabilize Ethnography Now: Against Anthropological Showbiz-as-Usual.” Reviews in Anthropology, 2003, 32(2):159-169.

Modern Reflex.” American Anthropologist 104(1): 324-326, 2002.

Islamic finance

Form versus Substance: AAOIFI Projects and Islamic Fundamentals in the case of Sukuk. Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research,1(1) 32-41, 2010.

Faith in the Form: Islamic Home Financing and “American” Islamic Law. In Katherine Ewing, ed. New York: Russell Sage Press. 178-199, 2008.

“Re-Formatting the Economy: Islamic Banking and Finance in World Politics. In Nelly Lahoud, A.H. Johns and Allan Patience, eds. Islam in World Politics. RoutledgeCurzon, 2005, pp.54-66.

“Implementing Empirical Knowledge in Anthropology and Islamic Accountancy.” Eds. Aihwa Ong and Stephen Collier. Global Anthropology: Technology, Governmentality, Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004, pp.214-232. [expanded version of “Anthropological and Accounting Knowledge” article, below]

Anthropological and Accounting Knowledge in Islamic Banking and Finance: Rethinking Critical Accounts.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, new series, 8(4): 645-667, 2002.

“Engineering an Islamic Future: Speculations on Islamic Financial Alternatives.” Anthropology Today. 17.1 (2001): 8-11.

My Personal Favorites

“On Divine Markets and the Problem of Justice: Empire as Theodicy.” In Paul Passavant and Jodi Dean, eds. Empires New Clothes. New York: Routledge, 2004, 57-72.

“Redecorating the International Economy: Keynes, Grant, and the Queering of Bretton Woods.” In Queer Globalizations: Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism, A. Cruz-Malave and M. Manalansan, eds. New York: New York University Press, 2002, pp. 100-133.

“Fact and Fetish in Creolization Studies: Herskovits and the Problem of Induction, or, Guinea Coast, 1593.” New West Indian Guide/Nieuwe West-Indisches Gids 76 (1/2): 5-22, 2002.