Real time: Unwinding technocratic and anthropological knowledge

Annelise Riles*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    84 Scopus citations


    "The Bank of Japan is our mother," bankers in Tokyo sometimes said of Japan's central bank. Drawing on this metaphor as an ethnographic resource, and on the example of central bankers who sought to unwind their own technocratic knowledge by replacing it with a real-time machine, I retrace the ethnographic task of unwinding technocratic knowledge from those anthropological knowledge practices that critique technocracy. In so doing, I draw attention to special methodological problems-involving the relationship between ethnography, analysis, and reception-in the representation and critique of contemporary knowledge practices.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)392-405
    Number of pages14
    JournalAmerican Ethnologist
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


    • Bureaucracy
    • Economics
    • Expert knowledge
    • Finance
    • Japan
    • Regulation
    • Risk

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology

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