Sunday, October 7, 2018

Week 7.2 - Ghodsee, Shopaholic in Eastern Europe (Due 10/11)

How were consumption patterns different under the communist regime than the free-market one? How did the command economy and the rationing system work? How do these economic systems shape people's behaviors and expectations?

Week 7.1 - In and Out of Africa (Due 10/9)

Why is African art valued differently than European/American so-called “fine art”? Why are “authentic” pieces valued more by the American/European collectors? How do we determine the “just price” for the pieces of art sold through this transnational market? What are the socio-economic inequalities that structure these exchanges?

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Week 6.2 - Value, Evil eye, Economic subjectivities

How does Elyachar discuss value in the context of workshops in Cairo? What kinds of value does she identify? How do these values affect business (according to the members of the workshop)?

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Week 6.1 - Value and Wealth

What kinds of wealth do Carola and Saraswathi mobilize to make their livelihoods? How are these forms of wealth valued? How do these modes of value-formation compare across the Mexican and Indian context?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Week 5.2 - Money and Social Ties

Does money corrupt social relations? Does the use of social relations in financial realms cause inefficiency or favoritism of failure? How does Zelizer respond to claims that money and social relations don't mix well together? How do people intertwine money and social relations?

Monday, September 24, 2018

Week 5: Money and Social Ties

What is the conventional story of money, according to Maurer? What, according to Maurer, are some shortcomings of this story?

Friday, September 14, 2018

Week 4: Forum - the Gift

Using the analysis and examples from the readings by Mauss and Zelizer, discuss the following questions: Is the gift ever free? Is money (cash, gift card, etc) a worthy gift?

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Week 3: Alternative Economies of Appalachia Fieldtrip

Describe how the initiatives we visited in Shawnee and Chesterhill Produce Auction are alternative economic models.

Week 3: The Gift

What are some of the principles of exchange in a gift economy? What does Mauss mean by the expression that the gift is a social, political, economic, religious institution?

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Week 2.2 - Formalists and substantivists

What are the main differences between the formalists and the substantivists? How do they see the relationship between economy and society?

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Week 2 - The History of the notion of "Economy"

In brief, describe how the notion of "economy" has changed over history. Use specific examples to describe what economy has meant in a particular time/context.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Week 12 & 13 - Mushroom at the end of the world

What does Tsing mean by the statement that precarity is the predominant mode of living in the contempary world (describe using examples)? How does Tsing describe the commodity chain of the matsutake mushrooms? How are different lives entangled in the accumulation and circulation of the mushrooms? What can the study of the matsutake mushroom global market tell us about the limits and unintended possibilities within the capitalist economy?

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Week 11 - Gender and Finance

Discuss how John Osburg describes the performance of masculinity by Chinese entrepreneurs (Chapter 2). How do sexuality and the market play out for women involved in the beauty economy (Chapter 5)?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Week 10 - Credit / Debt and Microfinance

In this week's readings, Ananya Roy notes how "economies of need are transformed into economies of profit and how collective resources are recalibrated as channels of privatization" (p. 107). Use examples from the readings (both Roy and Elyachar) to describe how these processes are taking place. Discuss in particular how microfinance is one growing area of global capital that exemplifies this predicament.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Week 9 - Globalization and Uneven Development

In Space of Hope, David Harvey outlines some of the characteristics of post-1970s global capitalism, what we have also come to describe as "neoliberalism". Describe some of these features. In chapter 8, Harvey focusses more specifically on the city of Baltimore and describes the transformations of the city and its urban geography. What are some of the historical transformations that have impacted the deterioration of Baltimore city? How do broader changes in the economy effect these changes in Baltimore as well as other postindustrial cities.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Week 7 - Work in a Neoliberal Economy

What's it like to "work" in a neoliberal economy? How does gender play into contemporary forms of labor in different parts of the world? What are some characteristics of neoliberalism as an economic system and as everyday experience?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Week 6 - Capitalism and Social Relations

June Hee Kwon notes that, among Korean Chinese couples living long-distance due to labor migration, "waiting is an immaterial, but nonetheless, an important form of unwaged, profit-producing labor". How does she describe the waiting of the botoli (the spouses who stay behind) as a form of work? How are intimate relationships affected and shaped by the patterns of labor migration and remittance sending?

The editors of "Generating Capitalism" essays note that: "Our focus is on how the generative powers of the body, spirit, and world are imagined, deployed, and experienced in contemporary capitalism." Discuss how different essays in this thread achieve this goal.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Week 5 - A Cultural Approach to Capitalism

(Tuesday) Max Weber notes "this peculiar idea of a duty to have a vocational calling, so familiar to us today but actually not at all self-evident, is the idea that is characteristic of the "social ethic" of modern capitalist culture" (81). What is the "ethic" or "spirit" or "frame of mind" that Weber tried to describe in these chapters? How is this ethic central to the rise and triumph of capitalism?

(Thursday) Jean and John Comaroff write about a new moment in the history of (global) capitalism which they describe as "millennial capitalism". What are some of the distinctive features of millennial capitalism? What are some of the economic structures (think Marx) and the ethos (think Weber) that characterizes millennial capitalism?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Week 3 & 4: Sweetness and Power

The following questions apply to the whole book (Sweetness and Power by Sydney Mintz): Describe how Mintz connects the rise of sugar consumption in England to the Triangle trade. How did it become possible for sugar to be such a cheap commodity that even the poor working classes could afford to consume it en masse? What role did the plantation economy play into this? Who were the different actors that made the plantation system lucrative for a particular group of people? Describe the economics of the plantation system. How did the plantation economy affect capitalist economy in British cities? What cultural shifts took place to transform sugar from a luxurious spice into a necessary dietary item? Why did the British working class people aspired to consume sugar? What were the cultural symbols attached to sugar?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Week 2: Anthropology and the Study of Capitalism

This week's reading provide a synopsis of the history of capitalism in the North and South (Hart) and the recent discussions about late capitalism (Blim & Lowrey). How is capital defined in the reading by Hart and what does this definition contribute to our broader understanding of capitalism? How do Hart's examples from his own research in West Africa illustrate some key aspects of capitalism as an economic system? How do Blim and Lowrey define "late capitalism"? What are some examples of life in late capitalism?

Welcome to Situating Capitalism (Anth 4941/5941)

Hi everyone in Anth 4941/5941! Welcome to our blog site. I will be posting weekly prompts for the blog posts. Looking forward to reading your responses! Smoki