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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Consumption, Exchange, Technology: The Anthropology of Economic Processes (PGSP11176)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe course discusses how goods are produced, circulated and consumed, and how these three fundamental processes of social life and reproduction are mediated by technology. Classically, economic anthropologists focused on how such activities were organised in small-scale societies or in colonial territories; often production and exchange, with their associated technologies, were highlighted while consumption received less attention. Today the impact of globalisation, the rise of the digital society, and the overflowing material abundance that characterises life in the advanced economies and aspirations elsewhere, have led many social theorists to focus on consumption and communication as the key factors determining how people experience power, identity, connections and conflicts. We study a range of case studies and theoretical essays, evaluating the strengths, weaknesses and applicability of different approaches.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course students should have a general understanding of classical and contemporary anthropological approaches to economic processes in non-industrialised, industrialised and 'post-industrial' contexts. Critical analysis and discussion of case studies and theoretical essays will build anthropological skills in evaluating the strengths, weaknesses and applicability of different approaches.
Assessment Information
This course will be assessed by a long essay (word-limit: 4,000)
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Week 1 Introduction to Economic Anthropology
Week 2 Money
Week 3 Gifts
Week 4 Gender and Technology
Week 5 Consumption
Week 6 [Reading week]
Week 7 Global Capitalism
Week 8 Internet
Week 9 Corporate Greed
Week 10 Body Commodification
Week 11 Biotechnology & Time
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Mauss, Marcel (1925) The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. London: Routledge.

Miller, Daniel (1998) "Making Love in the Supermarket." In A Theory of Shopping. Cambridge: Polity.

Wilson, Samuel M. and Leighton C. Peterson (2002) "The Anthropology of Online Communities." Annual Review of Anthropology 31: 449-67.

Mellstrom, Ulf (2004) "Machines and masculine subjectivity: technology as an integral part of men's life experience", Men & Masculinities 6: 362-82.

Romain, Tiffany (2010) "Extreme Life Extension: Investing in Cryonics for the Long, Long Term." Medical Anthropology 29, 2: 194-215.

Copeman, Jacob (2005) "Veinglory: Exploring processes of blood transfer between persons." Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 11: 465-485.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern The course involves one two-hour session a week for the whole class, together with small group support teaching in separate one-hour sessions just for MSc students. The 'small group' support teaching (tutorials) will normally be concerned with one or more readings that illustrate, underpin or extend issues raised in the main sessions.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jacob Copeman
Tel: (0131 6)50 6860
Course secretaryMs Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659
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