Japan and The Changing Politics of Central Banking--Annelise Riles lecture, Tokyo June 1, 2017

Gregory Noble's picture
June 1, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Economic History / Studies, Japanese History / Studies, Political Science

The Contemporary Japan Group at the Institute of Social Science (ISS, or Shaken),

University of Tokyo, welcomes you to a lecture by


Annelise Riles

 (Cornell University)


Japan and The Changing Politics of Central Banking



Thursday, June 1, 2017 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Akamon Sōgō Kenkyūtō Room 549, Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo Campus, University of Tokyo



Government bailouts.  Negative interest rates and markets that do not behave as economic models tell us they should. Bitcoin, cell phone banking, and other new forms of money and payment systems. Public skepticism about the “science” of monetary policy and suspicion that central bankers serve the interests of a few at the expense of the rest. Malaise and unease among central bankers themselves about the limits of their tools and the double binds that define their work. 

These dramatic changes seem to cry out for new ways of understanding the purposes and roles of central banks. Since the financial crisis of 2008, existing intellectual paradigms for understanding the role of the central bank in the economy and the polity no longer seem adequate to address the current challenges facing central banks. The problem is not just that the neoclassical models that dominated prior to 2008 fail to explain the current predicament. The problem is also that existing frameworks are far too narrow to take into account the broader political, social and cultural implications of the work of central bankers on local, national, regional and global scales. The unfinished agenda of the post-2008 reforms, arguably, is an intellectual one: how to understand the place of the state in the market and, in particular the place of the central bank in relationship to politics in all the senses of the term.

Drawing on examples from three recent cases--Abenomics, Brexit and the rise of populism in the US, this book aims to begin a new conversation about what central banks do, as an empirical matter, what they should do, as a normative matter, and what each of our responsibilities for the politics of the economy might be--whether we are academics, policy-makers, or citizen-consumers.



Jack G. Clarke Professor of Law in Far East Legal Studies and Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University. Her work focuses on the transnational dimensions of laws, markets and culture across the fields of comparative law, conflict of laws, the anthropology of law, public international law and international financial regulation. Her most recent book, Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets (University of Chicago Press 2011), is based on ten years of fieldwork among regulators and lawyers in the global derivatives markets.


The ISS Contemporary Japan Group provides English-speaking residents of the Tokyo area with an opportunity to hear cutting-edge research in social science and related policy issues, as well as a venue for researchers and professionals in or visiting Tokyo to present and receive knowledgeable feedback on their latest research projects. Admission is free and advance registration is not required. Everyone is welcome.
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Gregory W. NOBLE (noble@iss.u-tokyo.ac.jp)

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