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Ecologies of Investment: Crisis Histories and Brick Futures in Argentina

By Nicholas D'Avella

Cite As:
D’Avella, Nicholas. 2014. “Ecologies of Investment: Crisis Histories and Brick Futures in Argentina.” Cultural Anthropology 29, no. 1: 173–199.


This article describes an ecological approach to investment in Argentina. This approach involves seeing investments as part of an emergent web of relations among constitutive and constituting parts. Such a sensibility is central to Argentine economic life, in which no investment is treated like any other. Care about attributing equivalence and attention to the relationality of investments was also central to how people worked to save their savings in the aftermath of the Argentine economic crisis of 2001. But Argentines are not just invested in dollars and pesos, bank accounts and cash; they are also invested in their economic past. As a result, the history of Argentine economic life is under a constant process of (re)narration, as Argentines reflect upon their rocky economic past in films, memoirs, comic monologues, and stories told among family and friends. I follow Argentines in attending to the past as a means to engage current ecologies of investment, paying particular attention to the history of currency and banking in Argentina, which together helped produce a boom in real estate investment in the years following the crisis. I also suggest that thinking ecologically about investments can be useful for anthropologists who are compelled to look beyond global descriptions of the economy.


narrative; anthropology of money; globalization; investment; relation; history