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

Postgraduate Course: Demystifying Money (PGSP11533)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryKnowledge of how money works and how critically to think about money's many uses, users, avatars, and relations are key practical skills for any person in today's world. This course will demystify notions of money and its relationships as being abstract and too complex for anyone but economists and mathematicians to understand.
Course description Money is often thought of at once as mundane and ordinary - we all deal with money in some form on a daily basis - and impossibly complex, best left to professional economists and bankers. In this course, we will explore the rich anthropological literature from across the world to demystify our notions of money as being simple/neutral and as complex/universal. Through topics from value, happiness, morality, and debt to analyses of financial booms and busts, we will reveal anthropological tools as crucial for understanding human monetary systems across time and space. Weekly concepts will be illustrated through a term-long game, in which students will deal with and trade in the course's own alternative currency.

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 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  50
Course Start Semester 1
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) Short essay (30%): 1000 words«br /»
Long essay (70%): 3000 words«br /»

«br /»
The two essays will stimulate critical reflection of the lecture and reading materials, synthesize and relate topics across weeks, consider the role of money from multiple theoretical and real-life angles, and engage with a variety of cases from different geographies and time periods. Participation in the course-long game using an alternative currency will spur students' creative thinking and interest and instil an understanding of each week's concepts by actively enacting them. Weekly blog posts will anchor students' theoretical and ethnographic understanding of the material in real-world encounters and in their own decision-making within the currency game.«br /»
Feedback Essay marks and feedback will be returned within 15 working days of submission. Participation/blog posts will be assessed throughout the course with feedback occurring in real time (during tutorial).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critical awareness and extensive knowledge of key concepts and debates in the anthropology of money
  2. In-depth understanding of the power relationships and socio-structural features that underpin monetary use in micro and macro contexts
  3. Ability to critically analyze and evaluate moral and political claims regarding projects of money initiated by governments, international finance organizations, development agencies, households, firms, and individuals
  4. Ability to identify and effectively navigate methodological and ethical complexities of research in the field of economic anthropology and the anthropology of money
Reading List
Ho, Karen. 2009. Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street. Durham: Duke University Press.

Kwon, Heonik. 2007. The Dollarization of Vietnamese Ghost Money. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13: 73-90.

Maurer, Bill. 2015. How Would You Like to Pay?: How Technology is Changing the Future of Money. Durham: Duke University Press.

Miyazaki, Hirokazu. 2003. The Temporalities of the Market. American Anthropologist 105(2): 255-265.

Parry, Jonathan, and Maurice Bloch (eds.). 1989. Money and the Morality of Exchange. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Zelizer, Viviana. 1997. The Social Meaning of Money: Pin Money, Paychecks, Poor Relief, and other Currencies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course, students will be equipped with new skills in:

1. Synthesizing and analyzing empirical and theoretical materials from a variety of sources, with particular emphasis on lateral thinking.
2. Examining, using, and assessing evidence in support of explanatory and normative claims.
3. Developing and evaluating arguments that take different kinds of social complexity into account.
4. Exercising informed independent thought and critical judgment.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Juli Huang
Course secretaryMs Julia Jaworska
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659
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