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    Comparative studies of labour and development and the anthropology of work through global case studies.

    Work, whether paid or unpaid, fun or boring, real, redundant or imagined, occupies a huge proportion of our lives and is part of all cultures. ANTH 316 delivers the Anthropology of Work - a major sub-section of Economic Anthropology. ANTH 316 also explores work and labour through a broad interdisciplinary scope. The course investigates the meaning and impact of work at the individual, kinship, community, state and global levels. It shows how work and labour relations are entangled with culture and integral to understanding gender relations, racism, and power.

    This course also addresses social change and examines work and labour relations from the past to the present, in a diverse range of cultures, especially within the Pacific. Ethnographic case-studies provide valuable insight into this, including ‘murky’ worksites such as child work, unfree labour and sex work. We emphasise human resilience and hope, agency and resistance. This course will be valuable in careers that span social and economic issues. This is a core course in anthropology that fits well with other disciplines, and offers a different angle on economics, business and livelihoods.

    About this paper

    Paper title Labour and Society
    Subject Anthropology
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2022 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $929.55
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    18 200-level ANTH points or 108 points
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music

    Suitable for undergraduate students in humanities and commerce. Very suitable for students in anthropology, sociology and gender studies. This paper can be taken as part of the major or minor in Pacific Studies.

    Teaching staff

    To be advised when paper next offered.

    Paper Structure
    Topics covered may include the meaning of work, anthropology and work, slavery and unfree labour, Pacific livelihoods, gender, care and emotional labour, child work, sex work, ethnicity, power, inequality, class, globalisation, neoliberalism and labour, labour process, resistance and agency. The paper provides a historical overview and a comparative approach.
    Teaching Arrangements

    This paper is taught via lectures and seminars. The course is supported by Blackboard.


    Textbooks are not required for this course. A comprehensive reading list is supplied with the course outline.

    Key readings will be on e-reserve.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Research, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will

    • Gain a critical understanding of theoretical debates and methodological issues in the anthropology of work
    • Develop the ability and competence to critically review diverse and conflicting interpretations relating to labour, economics and society
    • Acquire an in-depth knowledge of past and present issues relating to labour and society from an anthropological perspective
    • Gain confidence and experience in initiating, completing and presenting independent research in oral and written forms

    A good pass grade in ANTH 316 is preparation for postgraduate and honours research, and provides skills and knowledge applicable to future employment.


    Not offered in 2022

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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