Kaisa_2012_3_photo by Veikko Somerpuro

30.4.2020 at 09:00 - 20.5.2020 at 23:59



The course is meant for students in Society and Change Master’s program majoring in the field of Social and Cultural Anthropology and for students in the COS Master’s program. If there is space, other students from the Society and Change MA program or from other relevant MA programmes can be accepted into the course.

On completing the course the student is able to describe the main anthropological perspectives on exchange and value and understands how they have changed as anthropology has developed as a discipline. The student is able to analyze the differences and relationships between economic, moral, and aesthetic values and to use the concepts of value and exchange in analyzing social inequality and its reproduction in space and time. The student can scrutinize critically propositions about universals in economic behavior. The student is able to identify contemporary questions that relate to scholarly debates about value and to apply them in his or her thesis work

Term: 3

The concept of the gift has given rise to several important debates in anthropological theory. Whereas market exchange involves an immediate payment for the received goods, the exchange of gifts takes place over a shorter or longer period of time and creates a social relationship based on debt. Material items circulate in both forms of exchange, but the time and space in which they circulate gives them different meanings and values. The importance of gifts and commodities differs from one society to another: some people put a priority on possessing the objects they desire, and elsewhere they strive to create relationships by giving things away. The course uses comparative ethnographic analysis of such practices as a critical and provocative tool in order to relocate several basic suppositions about human economic behavior. The study unit familiarizes the student with the anthropological research traditions focused on economic, moral, religious, and aesthetic values that have developed around specific fields of study, helping them to formulate their own research topics and consequently participate in academic debates.

- Humphrey, Caroline & Hugh-Jones, Stephen (eds). 1992. Barter, Exchange and Value: An Anthropological Approach
- Graeber, David 2001: Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Dreams.
- Gregory, C. 1997: Savage Money: The anthropology and politics of commodity exchange
- Parry, J. & Bloch, M. (eds.) 1989: Money and the Morality of Exchange
- Sahlins, M. 1972: Stone Age Economics

Literature in the written exam:

  • Graeber, David 2001. Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Dreams. Palgrave Macmillian.
  • Parry, Jonathan & Bloch, Maurice (toim.) 1989. Money and the Morality of Exchange. Cambridge University Press.
  • Sahlins, Marshall 1972. Stone Age Economics. Aldine De Gruyter

On a scale of 0 to 5. All completed studies will be taken into consideration, while self-assessment is promoted.

Instructions for examinations

  • Faculty examinations are held in Porthania (Yliopistonkatu 3).
  • Faculty examinations begin at 9.00. Students must arrive by 9.30 and may leave no earlier than 9.30.
  • Students may take only writing utensils with them to their seats (no bags etc.). No programmable calculators or dictionaries are allowed.
  • Mobile phones must be switched off.
  • Examination answers must be returned to the invigilator in the examination envelope.
  • Students must provide proof of identity when submitting their answers.

Lecture course that includes written assignments and group discussions.