I'm an anthropologist and ethnographer—of money, technology, institutions, and everyday economic and political life.


As of August 2018, I will be the Managing Director of Research at the Filene Research Institute, a non-profit credit union and cooperative finance think tank. I previously worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of California, Irvine, where I also received my PhD in Anthropology in 2015. I also serve as Co-Editor in Chief of the Journal of Cultural Economy.

I am especially interested in how people make and maintain alternative economies, from the US credit union movement to Latin American cooperativism. I'm currently writing a book, titled After Neoliberalism: Solidarity Economies in Quito, Ecuador, drawing on several years of fieldwork with urban market vendors, family and neighborhood savings groups, development experts, and government officials in and around Ecuador's capital. It examines—from policy to practice—efforts to reimagine "the social" as an alternative to neoliberalism in the context of left-populist state transformation.

I think a lot about technologies of money and law, financial exclusion and financial justice, work and exhaustion, material cultures of trust, disintermediation ideologies, colonial and postcolonial histories of sovereignty and value, marketplace infrastructures, statistical and non-statistical evaluation in baseball scouting cultures, speculative and science fiction, street dogs, and bureaucracy as a kind of care.

I have consulted, contracted, and otherwise collaborated on projects about money and technology with organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Glenbrook Partners, Samsung, BFA, Intel, and the US Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, as well as visiting delegations of international legal, finance, and security professionals, including the Chief Justice of Malaysia.

I am a founding member of the Future of Money Research Collaborative. Read about our work here.

Email me at taylor dot nelms at gmail dot com.