AN252 Half Unit
Anthropological Approaches to Value
This information is for the 2017/18 session.
Professor David Graeber OLD.6.10
This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law, BA in Social Anthropology and BSc in Social Anthropology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.
In this course we will first take stock of the current anthropological theories of value in contemporary anthropology. After a critical appraisal of such theories, we will explore what an anthropological theory of value might actually look like. After a brief exploration of Kluckhohn’s “values project”, the formalist-substantivist arguments, and debates about the nature of the social role of money, up to the recent neoliberal resurgence in anthropological theory, we’ll be looking at the contrasting legacies of Karl Marx and Marcel Mauss. Looking at these as two very different approaches to many of the same problems will provide enormous opportunities for creative synthesis. The course will include some fairly extended case studies (of Tiv fetishism, wampum, and anthropological studies of consumption), to investigate how useful all this theory can actually be in throwing new light on familiar problems.
15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT.
This course has a reading week in Week 6 of MT.
Students registered for Anthropology degrees may submit formative tutorial essays on the course content and receive feedback from their academic advisors. Students who are not registered for Anthropology degrees will be given the option of submitting essays to the course teacher and receiving feedback on them.
Graeber, D. (2001) Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams.
Graeber, D. (2011) Debt: The First Five Thousand Years
Godbout, J. & Caillé, A. (1998) The World of the Gift.
De Angelis, M. (2007) The Beginning of History: Value Struggles and Global Capitalism
Appadurai, A. (2013) The Future as Cultural Fact: Essays in the Global Condition
Turner, T. (1984) “Value, production and exploitation in simple non-capitalist societies”
Munn, N. (1986) The fame of Gawa: A symbolic study of value transformation in a Massim (Papua New Guinea) society
Take home exam (100%) in the MT.
The take home exam will be held the week following the end of the MT.
Total students 2016/17: 24
Average class size 2016/17: 12
Capped 2016/17: No
Value: Half Unit
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Commercial awareness
- Specialist skills