University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
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
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe 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.
Course description Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: Money/Value

Week 3: Gifts

Week 4: Consumption

Week 5: Global Capitalism/Neoliberalism

Innovative Learning Week No lecture

Week 6: Alternative Economies

Week 7: Technology

Week 8: Digital Technology

Week 9: The Corporation/Finance

Week 10: Body Economies

Week 11: Reading Week & Office Drop-in Session (re: essay writing).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) This course will be assessed by a long essay (word-limit: 4,000)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. show a general understanding of classical and contemporary anthropological approaches to economic processes in non-industrialised, industrialised and post-industrial contexts
  2. Utilise critical analysis and discussion of case studies and theoretical essays to build anthropological skills in evaluating the strengths, weaknesses and applicability of different approaches.
  3. show an enriched understanding of the evolution of the study of economic categories through appreciating the ways in which they have been subjected to scholarly analysis for the past 25-30 years.
Reading List
Check course handbook for current reading lists.

- Mauss, Marcel (1925/1990) The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. London: Routledge.
- Carrier, James G. (ed) (2005) A Handbook of Economic Anthropology. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Zelizer, Viviana (2010) Economic Lives: How Culture Shapes the Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Miller, Daniel (1987) Material Culture and Mass Consumption. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Graeber, David (2001) Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams. New York: Palgrave.
- Graeber, David (2010) Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Melville House.
- Parry, Jonathan and Maurice Bloch (eds.) (1989) Money and the Morality of Exchange. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Appadurai, Arjun (ed) (1986) The social life of things: commodities in cultural perspective, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jacob Copeman
Tel: (0131 6)50 6860
Course secretaryMs Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 5066
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information
© Copyright 2015 The University of Edinburgh - 18 January 2016 4:38 am