Term: Fall 2009

Subject Code: GANT

Course Number: 6215

This course will take up a central question:  to what extent is anthropology adequate to the task of inquiring into economic life? In response, we will first consider 1) the historical significance of liberalism for the theorization of the economy and 2) the emergence of the category of “the economy” as a distinct entity and concept.  We will then turn to the anthropology of value as one distinct way in which anthropology has conceptualized, evaluated, and represented both the economy and economics.  These readings on the anthropology of value – which treat the topics of money, property, and wealth, for example – established certain approaches to the study of new forms of economic organization, such as finance.  However, more recent work in economic sociology and actor network theory have demonstrated the inadequacies of those approaches, providing methods for studying what is now know as “the performativity of economics” and processes of economization.  Students will be asked to consider the ways in which these recent approaches to studying economic life have taken up the aims of anthropology itself.

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