Faculty of Arts


Economy and Culture

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for ANTHRO 242.


This course examines selected aspects of production, exchange and consumption from a comparative perspective. Among the topics we will study are cultural understandings of land, technology and work; concepts of property; similarities and differences between gifts and commodities; forms of reciprocity and redistribution; money; spheres of exchange; markets; and connections between power and material conditions of life. The relation between gender and economy will be addressed throughout the course. The course will also consider cultural metaphors in terms of which people in different societies describe their economies and the implications of such metaphors for anthropological understanding of economic life, including the appropriateness of economic models developed in capitalist societies for the understanding of non-capitalist societies.

Although case studies and examples with be drawn from across the globe, particular focus will be placed on Papua New Guinea, where the lecturer has carried out extensive fieldwork.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the course, students are expected to:

  • Understand the relationship between culture and economy
  • Recognise the cultural bases of economic concepts
  • Understand the various ways in which people make a living
  • Be able to identify various types of reciprocity and redistribution
  • Understand the ways in which economic activities and concepts are embedded in social relations
  • Understand the significance of culturally-specific ideas of the person for economic activities

View the course syllabus

Availability 2018

Semester 2


Coordinator(s) Dr Mark Busse


ANTHRO 242: 15.0 points


ANTHRO 100 or 30 points in Anthropology or International Relations and Business



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