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a key issue in economic anthropology is the mystification of the production of goods during gift and commodity exchange. In this mystification process, wrapping is crucial in defining the nature of social inequaility



Residential Anthropology Learning and Teaching Material(ities)


Economic Anthropology



About this Module


This was the first module I created [in 2001] from scratch in my appointment as a Lecturer in Anthropology. It was meant to complement two other existing module on political economy, kinship and gender that run bi-annually along with this one. It was a non-compulsory module.


The original module had 10 tutorials and 10 lectures and when I taught it for the first time as a 20 credit module I found myself with the equivalent of a 30 credit module. My lecture notes were three times larger than the 53 pages of the Full Handout.


This handout is a revised version that I produced after incorporating student feedback over from 2001 to 2007. I remember, back in 2001 I had one tutorial on Marxism and one tutorial on the domestic mode of production and Marshall Shalins. For political departmental reasons I had to take these out of their tutorial section. I was not pleased with their absence so I re-incorporated them in the lectures and I also made a point of including a further lecture on marxists approach to culture in a module that I was writing on gender and sexuality that I started teaching in 2003. If I find the original ones I will incorporate them here on the additional section.


Along with this shift [originally they were both in lecture and tutorial] from 2001 to 2005 I incorporated a lecture based on my own research and my preocupation with commodity exchange and wrapping. In 2005 I also incorporated a complex lecture on space and culture and globalisation. I used many different sources in the building up of classnotes leading towards the Handout, including.... my own notes from when I was a student in a module in 'economic anthropology'.  From my experience as a student I had benefited from a lecture on the underside of the economy and I felt I wanted to include some of these elements in my own handout. I went back to my classnotes, readings, and I so much thanked my lecturer back then to having us provided with such a great introduction to it.


Place and Roads

Because I did my research within the area of economic anthropology...read more



[go back to all materialities]


 The Full Handout includes the following:

1- Course Description

2- Learning Objectives and Aims

3- Bibliography

4- Internet References

5- Intranet Readings

6- Course Itinerary

7- Assessment

8- Lecture and Tutorial Handouts

9- Revision and Exam Techniques



1- Introduction to economic anthropology

2- Debating the Economy: Economic rational in 'primitive' societies

3- Melanesia according to Mauss and Malinowsk: Hau and Kula

4- The making of a Big Man: Onka's Big Moka

5- Entangled Objects and Poisoned Gifts

6- Th evil money and the dirty market

7- Japanese gifts and the nature of capitalist gift exchange

8- Shopping, consumerism, commodities and wrapping

9- Space, culture and Capitalism

10- Development and globalisation: The transnational and the local

11- The underside of the economy. Hidden markets



1- Bundles and Grass Skirts: women's wealth

2- Exchange contested: The gender of yams and pigs

3- Money, Morality and Markets

4- Need and Consumption

5- Reserve - Revision Class



For queries, an email.