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    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.

    About this paper

    Paper title Anthropology of Money
    Subject Anthropology
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    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

    Teaching staff

    Dr Gregory Rawlings

    Paper Structure


    • Tutorial participation (10%)
    • Essay 1 (25%)
    • Essay 2 (25%)
    • Final Exam (40%)

    Teaching Arrangements

    Lectures and Tutorials
    Tutorial Participation
    Two Essays


    Textbooks are not required for this paper. All readings are available online through the University of Otago eReserve.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Cultural understanding, Ethics, Research
    view more information about otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will:

    • Have an ability to use 'problem-based learning' skills to critically assess data, evidence and argument
    • Deepen skills in critical reading and interpreting diverse information, data, arguments and media
    • Further improve 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


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    L1 Wednesday 10:00-11:50 29-35, 37-42


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    T1 Thursday 15:00-15:50 30-34, 38-41
    T2 Wednesday 16:00-16:50 30-34, 38-41
    T3 Thursday 16:00-16:50 30-34, 38-41
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