Working with Value

Subject ANTH20007 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 x 2 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week for 10 weeks. The lecture and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:

Anthropology, Development Studies or Social Theory at level 1

Non Allowed Subjects:

Students who have completed 121-065 or 671-353 are not permitted to enrol in this subject.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:

Subject Overview:

This subject explores how people come to value things as they do, critically engaging with a range of theoretical and ethnographic literature to ask how value may be created, enhanced and realised in different ways. Students will be introduced to ways that anthropologists analyse and interpret variation in economic behaviour and economic systems, examining the assumptions about human behaviour that inform classical, political and moral approaches to economics, and where these different approaches locate the source of value. Ethnographic examples from systems of different complexity will be used to explore topics such as: division of labour; 'gift' and 'commodity' economies; formal and informal economies; consumption, identity and 'consumer society'; the meaning of 'money' and its effects. Students should become familiar not only with how local economies work, but also with implications of the emerging global economy and the ways it is transforming local and regional economic logics.


Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • have a thorough understanding of the different approaches within anthropology to analysing economic behaviour and systems;
  • have acquired a knowledge of the ethnographic literature on the dynamics of production, consumption and exchange in systems characterised as 'domestic' and 'capitalist';

  • be aware of key debates in economic anthropology regarding processes that are seen as central to the emergence of 'modern' society, such as specialisation, liberalisation, and commodification;

  • have an understanding of the implications of changing economic systems for subsections of society defined by age, gender and class, and for developing societies in a globalising world.


A 750 word class paper 20% (due mid-semester) a 500 word tutorial paper 20% (due during semester) and a 2500-word essay 60% (due at the end of semester).

Hurdle Requirement: A hurdle requirement of participation in 8 of 10 tutorial (ie 80% of tutorials) applies in this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available from the University Bookshop at the beginning of semester. Set readings will also be available online, through LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • have practice in conducting research and speaking articulately.
  • have practice in writing clearly in a variety of formats and reading with attention to detail.
  • have experience of systematically evaluating a body of empirical data and identifying its theoretical context.
  • have experience of methods of critical inquiry and argument leading to improved analytical skills.
  • have acquired awareness of issues relating to cross-cultural communication.
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology
Development Studies
Development Studies
Development Studies Major

Download PDF version.