Undergraduate Program Status
In this course we analyze economic topics like money, financial institutions, values, resources, and commodity/value chains, with the methodological tools and theoretical questions of anthropology. Today, money is clearly one of the most powerful social linkages between individuals, groups and nation states that exist. Its power of abstraction generates equivalences where none existed, forms the basis of most calculations and has the metaphysical quality of generating off-spring (interest). Yet, inquiry into money’s emergence, institutional underpinnings and importance for the development of societies is fragmented. This course will draw on sociology, economic anthropology, and heterodox economics to ask how money has changed human societies. What is its linkage to ascendant state bureaucracies and markets? It argues that a proper historical and conceptual understanding of money and its relationship to markets and states allows us to overcome the state-market-society dichotomies.
By the end of the course students will be able to: Identify key debates in the field of economic anthropology, Relate anthropological approaches to the economy to the problems and practices of contemporary economic life, Understand regional and historical variation in economic practices, Relate the anthropology of morals to economic anthropology, Critically assess dominant economic paradigms shaping politics and public policy, Comprehend what is particular, and what is not particular, to capitalist economies.