Postgraduate Course: Consumption, Exchange, Technology: The Anthropology of Economic Processes (PGSP11176)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The 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.
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)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 10,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||This course will be assessed by a long essay (word-limit: 4,000)
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- show a general understanding of classical and contemporary anthropological approaches to economic processes in non-industrialised, industrialised and post-industrial contexts
- 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.
- 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.
|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.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Jacob Copeman
Tel: (0131 6)50 6860
|Course secretary||Ms Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 5066
© Copyright 2015 The University of Edinburgh - 18 January 2016 4:38 am