AN357      Half Unit
Economic Anthropology (2): Transformation and Globalisation

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Laura Bear OLD 6.07


This course is compulsory on the BA in Social Anthropology and BSc in Social Anthropology. This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law, Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Fudan), Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Melbourne) and Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Tokyo). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This course examines ‘the economy’, as an object of social scientific analysis and a domain of human action, focusing on the anthropology of globalisation. Scholars have various ways of analysing the new forms of production, consumption, exchange and circulation that have emerged since the 1980s. Some emphasise post-Fordist methods of flexible production and neo-liberal elite projects. Others focus on trans-state processes of globalisation. For other theorists shifts in state policies such as austerity, decentralised planning, public-private partnerships and the deregulation of financial markets are at the centre of analysis. Others address new forms of consumer society, popular desires for social mobility and transnational migration. Drawing from ethnographies and anthropological theory this course will cast a critical eye over these arguments. It will also revisit classic topics from the perspective of present realities — for example production and intimate economies; formal markets in relation to informalised, violent economies; circulation in relation to financial debt and risk; and consumption and consumer citizenship. 


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

This course has a reading week in Week 6 of LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.

Indicative reading

J Inda and R Rosaldo (eds) The Anthropology of Globalisation (2007); M Edelman and A Haugerud (eds) The Anthropology of Development and Globalization (2004); J Collier and A Ong (eds) Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics and Ethics as Anthropological Problems (2004); C.Freeman, High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy: women, work and pink-collar identities in the Caribbean (2000); M Mills, Thai Women and the Global Labour Force: consuming desires, contested selves (1999); A Wilson, The Intimate Economies of Bangkok: Tomboys, Tycoons and Avon Ladies in the  Global City (2004); A Aneesh, Virtual Migration: the Programming of Globalisation (2004); N Constable, Migrant Workers in Asia: Distant Divides, Intimate Connections (2010); M O’Dougherty, Consumption Intensified: the politics of middle class daily life in Brazil (2002); A Tsing, Friction: an Ethnography of  Global Connection (2004); C Hann, Life in Debt: Times of Care and Violence in Neo-Liberal Chile (2012); K Ho, Liquidated: an Ethnography of Wall Street (2010).This is an indicative reading list: detailed reading lists are provided at the beginning of the course.


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

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2018/19: 61

Average class size 2018/19: 15

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills