Gambling Debt: Iceland's Rise and Fall in the Global Economy

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E. Paul Durrenberger, Gisli Palsson
University Press of Colorado, Dec 1, 2014 - Social Science - 312 pages

Gambling Debt is a game-changing contribution to the discussion of economic crises and neoliberal financial systems and strategies. Iceland’s 2008 financial collapse was the first case in a series of meltdowns, a warning of danger in the global order. This full-scale anthropology of financialization and the economic crisis broadly discusses this momentous bubble and burst and places it in theoretical, anthropological, and global historical context through descriptions of the complex developments leading to it and the larger social and cultural implications and consequences.

Chapters from anthropologists, sociologists, historians, economists, and key local participants focus on the neoliberal policies—mainly the privatization of banks and fishery resources—that concentrated wealth among a select few, skewed the distribution of capital in a way that Iceland had never experienced before, and plunged the country into a full-scale economic crisis. Gambling Debt significantly raises the level of understanding and debate on the issues relevant to financial crises, painting a portrait of the meltdown from many points of view—from bankers to schoolchildren, from fishers in coastal villages to the urban poor and immigrants, and from artists to philosophers and other intellectuals.

This book is for anyone interested in financial troubles and neoliberal politics as well as students and scholars of anthropology, sociology, economics, philosophy, political science, business, and ethics.

Publication supported in part by the National Science Foundation.

Contributors: 
Vilhjálmur Árnason, Ásmundur Ásmundsson, Jón Gunnar Bernburg, James Carrier, Sigurlína Davíðsdóttir, Dimitra Doukas, Níels Einarsson, Einar Mar Guðmundsson, Tinna Grétarsdóttir, Birna Gunnlaugsdóttir, Guðný S. Guðbjörnsdóttir, Pamela Joan Innes, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, Örn D. Jónsson, Hannes Lárusson, Kristín Loftsdóttir, James Maguire, Már Wolfgang Mixa, Evelyn Pinkerton, Hulda Proppé, James G. Rice, Rögnvaldur J. Sæmundsson, Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir, Margaret Willson


 

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Contents

After the Crash
61
The Magic of Virtual Fish
107
The Crash and Communities
161
Summing Up
215
References
235
Index
277
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About the author (2014)

E. Paul Durrenberger is emeritus professor of anthropology from the University of Iowa and Penn State University and recipient of the Society for Applied Anthropology's Malinowski Award for 2014. He has done fieldwork in tribal and peasant areas of Thailand, Iceland, and the United States and has published a number of academic papers and books, including The Anthropological Study of Class and Consciousness and The Anthropology of Labor Unions (both UPC).  Gisli Palsson is professor of anthropology at the University of Iceland and visiting professor at King’s College, London. He is Honorary Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland and recipient of the 2000 Rosenstiel Award from the University of Miami. Among his books is Anthropologies of Life: Nature, Culture and Society (forthcoming).


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