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ANTH327 Anthropology of Money

An introduction to the anthropological understanding of money, drawing on contemporary case studies from Indigenous (often non-cash) societies, globalising industrial societies, and classical ethnographies of money.

This paper illustrates that money is a profoundly cultural phenomenon, mediated by social, political and ideological forms that embody gendered practices of human agency and constraint, exchange, payment and consumption. As such the anthropology of money and its use says much about time, risk, faith, morality, trust and rationality. Exploring the cultural logics of money provides a critical perspective on the modern corporation, the power of numbers and their calculations, and the cross-cultural interpretation of capital.

This paper begins by exploring the relationship between money and culture. This is then complemented with classic ethnographic studies of money and its juxtaposition between 'tradition' and 'modernity' and the displacement of 'special purpose money' by the 'great transformation'. We then turn our attention to stock markets, trading and traders, time, risk and its calculability, finance and the state, and the relationship between money and crime and money and gender, class, and development.

Paper title Anthropology of Money
Paper code ANTH327
Subject Anthropology
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

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18 200-level ANTH points or 108 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music

Teaching staff

Dr Gregory Rawlings

Paper Structure
  • Tutorial participation (10%)
  • Essay 1 (25%)
  • Essay 2 (25%)
  • In-class test (40%)
Teaching Arrangements
Lectures and tutorials
Entirely internally assessed - no exam
Internal class test in last lecture
There is no textbook. All readings are available online through the University of Otago eReserve.
Course outline

Will be available on Blackboard at the beginning of the course.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Cultural understanding, Ethics, Research
view more information about otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  1. Having an ability to use 'problem-based learning' skills to critically assess data, evidence and argument
  2. Deepening skills in critical reading and interpreting diverse information, data, arguments and media
  3. Further improving writing skills that demonstrate an ability to make concise arguments and reinforce these with an appropriate selection of ethnographic and empirical evidence and a critical interpretation of that data

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 14:00-15:50 9-12, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Tuesday 17:00-17:50 10-12, 18-21
T2 Wednesday 16:00-16:50 10-12, 18-21
T3 Thursday 16:00-16:50 10-12, 18-21