AN456      Half Unit
Anthropology of Economy (1): Production and Exchange

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Laura Bear OLD 6.09 and Dr Gisa Weszkalnys


This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development (Management), MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Human Rights, MSc in Law, Anthropology and Society, MSc in Regulation, MSc in Regulation (Research), MSc in Religion in the Contemporary World, MSc in Social Anthropology and MSc in Social Anthropology (Learning and Cognition). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


A background in the social sciences, preferably in anthropology

Course content

This course examines ‘the economy’, as an object of social scientific analysis and a domain of human action. We will start by asking: How did people come to conceive of this domain? How have they have tried to measure, describe, model, and predict its behaviour? What form do economic institutions take cross-culturally? Some of the topics covered in this course include the relationship between gifts and commodities, the social organization of production and exchange, and the links between economic, political, and kinship domains. Students will become familiar with the key concepts of economic anthropology and gain a solid understanding of relevant theoretical debates. The range of the literature covered will enable students to ask critical questions, for example, about economic aspects of gender relations, about money as an agent of social change, or about the place of affect and culture in global markets.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

Students will do presentations during seminars for which they will receive formative feedback. They will also have an opportunity to write tutorial essays on topics from the course which will be formatively assessed.

Indicative reading

M. Sahlins, Stone Age Economics (1974); J. Parry & M. Bloch (eds), Money and the Morality of Exchange (1989); J. G. Carrier (ed), A Handbook of Economic Anthropology (2005); K. Hart, Money in an Unequal World (2001); T. Mitchell, Rule of Experts (2002). Detailed reading lists are provided at the beginning of the course.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2012/13: 15

Average class size 2012/13: 8

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information