In this article, I bring ontological anthropology into a register that is recognizably political and critical in orientation. My intention is to apply the powerful conceptual approach of the “ontological turn” in order to address a contemporary politico-economic problem of acute importance: offshore finance. Drawing from archival and ethnographic data collected in Luxembourg, I argue that officials from this country’s offshore financial center have employed ontology in particular ways in the service of a drastically imbalanced global capitalist system. In doing so, I contend that anthropologists are not the only people at present engaged in an “ontological turn”; so too are the thousands of bankers, lawyers, fund administrators, and accountants currently at work in Luxembourg. Thus, in exposing anthropologists to a set of concurrent “ontologies,” I move away from how the turn’s proponents within the discipline have to date thought of their ontological explorations as pointing to a somehow more desirable and progressive future.
Weeks, Samuel. 2020. “Offshore Ontologies: Global Capital as Substance, Simulation, and the Supernatural.” Dialectical Anthropology 44(4):355-371.
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