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Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams

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This volume is the first comprehensive synthesis of economic, political, and cultural theories of value. David Graeber reexamines a century of anthropological thought about value and exchange, in large measure to find a way out of ongoing quandaries in current social theory, which have become critical at the present moment of ideological collapse in the face of Neoliberalism. Rooted in an engaged, dynamic realism, Graeber argues that projects of cultural comparison are in a sense necessarily revolutionary projects: He attempts to synthesize the best insights of Karl Marx and Marcel Mauss, arguing that these figures represent two extreme, but ultimately complementary, possibilities in the shape such a project might take. Graeber breathes new life into the classic anthropological texts on exchange, value, and economy. He rethinks the cases of Iroquois wampum, Pacific kula exchanges, and the Kwakiutl potlatch within the flow of world historical processes, and recasts value as a model of human meaning-making, which far exceeds rationalist/reductive economist paradigms.

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... of commodities, bringing to bear multiple aspects and viewpoints on the sub ject (see, e.g., Bishop 2014;Cook 2004;D'Altroy and Earle 1985;Gillespie and Joyce 1997;Graeber 2001;Gregory 1982;Helms 2009;Hirth and Pillsbury 2013;Joyce 1999;Keane 2003;King 2015;Kopytoff 1986;Masson and Freidel 2002;McAnany 2010;Spence 1996;Staller and Carrasco 2010). ...
... For example, the history of obsidian and jade production in the prehistoric Maya world is a history of control over raw materials and production. Similarly, although we poorly understand preColumbian Maya land tenure, it is clear that whomever controlled agricultural land benefited from enhanced value both economically and what Graeber (2001) would call "linguistically" (see also Cain and Leventhal,chapter 10). The organization of labor enhances value as well, and whoever controls labor economically benefits from its products. ...
... The rigidity of this tradition is not based on raw material properties but instead on the shared values of the community of practice. In this instance, "value" has a meaning approximating the sociological sense of the term, concerning the "good" and "proper" way to produce a celt as collectively defined by the community (Graeber 2001). A community of practice model also has the utility of drawing our attention to practices that, at least on the surface, appear to be inconsistent with group objectives. ...
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This volume examines the creation of commodities and their value in the Maya region prehistorically, historically and in the contemporary times.
... A market category, value connotes monetary exchange. Values, on the other hand, connote broader spheres of human meaning making: family values, political values, cultural values (Graeber 2005). The articles within this special issue broadly examine instances when clashes between a landscape's value and its associated values create new social forms. ...
... The articles within this special issue broadly examine instances when clashes between a landscape's value and its associated values create new social forms. To organize our discussion of the eleven articles that follow, we take our cue from Graeber's (2001Graeber's ( , 2005 contribution of value as action. Where neoclassical economic approaches traditionally reduce value to price, Graeber builds on Marx to focus on human actions as the source of value. ...
... The articles within this special issue broadly examine instances when clashes between a landscape's value and its associated values create new social forms. To organize our discussion of the eleven articles that follow, we take our cue from Graeber's (2001Graeber's ( , 2005 contribution of value as action. Where neoclassical economic approaches traditionally reduce value to price, Graeber builds on Marx to focus on human actions as the source of value. ...
Article
This special issue presents a collection of ethnographic and archaeological articles that consider how humans inscribe landscapes with diverse forms of value. From natural resources to real estate markets, from cherished homelands to foreign speculative investment, the way we approach landscapes offers insights into value systems as they map onto and emerge from biophysical terrains. We argue that the “landscapes of value” analytic foregrounds such materiality to embed cyclical value making within particular places and times. We introduce this special issue by discussing the articles' contributions along four overlapping processes of landscape valuation: commodification, exclusion, speculation, and simplification.
... First, scholars have pointed out that enterprises oriented towards profit maximization and capital accumulation simultaneously drive environmental damage and social inequality alongside economic growth (Parrique et al. 2019;Hinton 2020), revealing the inherent paradoxes of using the former in the service of addressing the latter. Second, scholars have increasingly demonstrated how conceptions of value encoded in measures of profit are socially constructed and relational (Graeber 2001;Retsikas and Marsden 2018). For this reason, reframing profit as an objective that can be attained through the adoption of more sustainable (or what are increasingly described as "circular") practices still fails to offer an explicit critique of the "value-creation logic" (Schaltegger et al. 2016) that underlies these conventional understandings of what profit is or how it might be attained (Jackson 2009). ...
... Removing the expectation that alternatives be "profitable" in a colloquial sense allows us to understand ecovillage projects as sites of productive experimentation, rather than scalable models. Instead, reflecting on the shifting, malleable relationships between time, capital, and value reveals how these relationships might be re-imagined or remade (Graeber 2001). What this article works towards instead is an understanding of the success of such projects on their own terms, rather than on capital-centric or growth-based rubrics. ...
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This article highlights the emergence of intentional communities known as ecovillages (ecoaldeas) in Mexico, exploring how humans seek to design sustainable futures in part by re-making rural livelihoods. Ecovillages are inherently speculative ventures, or as Burke and Arjona (2013) note, laboratories for alternative political ecologies, inviting—and indeed, necessitating—the reimagination of human lives with greater consideration for the natural world. In this sense, such communities might be understood as “exilic spaces” (O’Hearn and Grubačić 2016), in that they seek to build autonomous and self-sustaining agricultural, social, and economic systems while also reflecting a stance of resistance to neoliberal capitalist structures. At the same time, communities may also remain dependent on connections to broader regional or global markets in diverse and interconnected ways. Understanding ecovillages as diverse and emergent “worldings” (de la Cadena and Blaser 2018), I ask how these experimental social ventures reckon with their connections to the very systems they are positioned against. To trace out how communities negotiate this fragile space, this article is concerned with how ecovillagers spend their time at work—particularly when it comes to managing relationships with and between more-than-human beings. Drawing on participant observation with ecovillagers and more-than-human others they work with, I explore how the concept of “rentabilidad” (profitability) is differently constructed. To this end, I highlight ethnographic examples where rentabilidad is purposefully reconceptualized with more-than-human lives in mind; such a shift, I suggest, hinges on ecovillagers’ individualized relations with the beings they (imagine themselves) to care for.
... Theories of value propose that we are willing to give up money and make sacrifices to acquire things that we believe will bring us pleasure (Graeber, 2001), happiness (Ahmed, 2010), or status (Bourdieu, 2010;Veblen, 2012Veblen, [1899). In his study of the valuation of market goods, Beckert (2011: 108) develops a typology of value to explain 'why actors desire the things whose value they reveal in the purchase'. ...
... Recent theories of value agree that there is a dialogic relationship between a person's or a community's moral and cultural values and the value they ascribe to things (e.g. Beckert, 2011;Graeber, 2001;Skeggs, 2014). This includes goods in the market economy. ...
Article
With Buddhism’s integration into the global market economy, the trade in Buddhist commodities is booming. I ask how the value of such goods is measured, communicated, and contested by the diverse range of actors who buy and sell them. The analytical framework draws on recent conceptual developments in the fields of religion and of technology to develop Jens Beckert’s typology of value. While Beckert draws on Durkheim’s sociology of religion to differentiate between physical and symbolic values, I take the example of a powerful Buddhist technology, the Tibetan prayer wheel, to demonstrate the entanglement of materiality and belief in the different types of value ascribed to religious goods.
... In this thesis, I approach questions of "identity" by way of anthropological understandings of "value." As will be elaborated in this section, value formulates human actions and defines for cultures what is important (Graeber 2001;Kluckhohn 1951). Value is also semiotically created and recreated in ongoing processes of human communicative interaction. ...
... Value is also semiotically created and recreated in ongoing processes of human communicative interaction. One's persona, or identity, can be understood as the cumulative effects of actions one performed in the past (Graeber 2001). So, too, a person's actions, informed by certain evaluative frameworks, will continue to configure, and reconfigure, that person's identity. ...
Article
In 2019, a new emigration wave began in Hong Kong following a series of anti-government social movements. As a response to the movements, the Chinese government implemented the National Security Law in June 2020. In the following year, Hong Kong witnessed a 1.2% decline in the city’s population. Centering on the relation between evaluation, aspiration, and anticipation, this thesis explores how changes in the sociopolitical environment are influencing the emigration decisions of Hong Kong’s people. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six interlocutors. I first explore how the interlocutors conceptualize their identities. Next, I discuss how their modes of identification alter meanings assigned to recent social changes in Hong Kong. Finally, by examining my interlocutors’ emigration narratives, I highlight how emigration decisions are rooted in aspirations and anticipations, restricted and facilitated by external forces, and mediated by shifting exposures and current situations. I argue that because a Hong Kong identity is constructed largely upon values and qualities different and readily differentiable from those of mainland Chinese, recent social changes (understood as an increased integration into China) place Hong Kong’s people in a new reality where their values are contested, and where decisions to emigrate become means through which aspirations, identities, and futures are negotiated and reformed.
... Tres dimensiones del ejercicio social de valoración me parecieron importantes de tomar en cuenta. En primer lugar, lo que podría entenderse como una comprensión social y práctica de este ejercicio (Graeber, 2013;Gregory, 1997). Se trataría de entender cómo es que las cosas son valoradas, no mirando a las cosas en sí, sino hacia cómo los seres humanos forjan y proyectan relaciones sociales a través de estas. ...
... Sin embargo, coexistencia no implica ausencia de dominación, por el contrario, la relación entre estándares de valoración puede implicar contradicción, rivalidad o imposición, lo que a su vez trae consecuencias para la configuración de relaciones de poder involucradas. Indica Graeber (2013; que los sujetos sociales nunca llegan a estar al tanto de todas las múltiples dimensiones, escalas y niveles de juegos en los que se mueven, por lo que al hablar del valor como una forma de conciencia, esta conciencia debe ser entendida como parcial. Y que es debido a esa cualidad de parcial que, al construir el mundo que se desea, un determinado colectivo social puede terminar siendo partícipe de la construcción de su propia dominación. ...
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Estas páginas constituyen las Memorias del V Congreso Internacional de Etnografía y Educación. Prácticas educativas, pedagogía e interculturalidad (2020) convocado por la Universidad Politécnica Salesiana del Ecuador. En el Congreso participaron investigadores, docentes y estudiantes de México, Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Antillas, Estados Unidos, Canadá, Italia, Francia y España con ponencias sobre tres ejes temáticos: Educación, sociedad y política; Escuela, diversidades y exclusiones; y Avances teóricos y metodológicos de la investigación etnográfica en educación. Más de 60 trabajos que amplían las reflexiones y que abren la discusión, desde la antropología y la pedagogía, hacia la construcción de una educación intercultural.
... Una alternativa, más antropológica si se quiere, es considerar que el valor es también lo que la gente debería desear y que funge como una medida no de las cosas sino de las acciones (Graeber, 2001). Esta perspectiva refuerza la interpretación de que asignar un determinado valor a una de las narrativas en contienda con respecto a los acontecimientos y acciones que definen el pasado colectivo por sobre todas las demás, es al mismo tiempo una modalidad de sugerir e implementar tácitamente la versión que se considera más deseable para que se distribuya socialmente en una población. ...
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Dilemas de la paz territorial en los tiempos del postacuerdo Experiencias territoriales en la región del Eje Cafetero
... Anticipamos, ciertamente, nos encontramos en franca desventaja con respecto a otras disciplinas como lo son la filosofía, historia, antropología, sociología y otras ciencias sociales y humanistas. En ellas encontramos, opuestamente, una diversidad y riqueza de investigaciones que han derivado en tratados llegando a consolidar, incluso, escuelas de pensamiento con base en el estudio del valor (Hodges, 1972;Graeber, 2001). ...
... A commodity's value thus emerges through its movement as well as through the social relations, material networks, and ideological connections between producers and consumers (Forster, 2006). This commodity value is therefore defined not only in Marxist economic and labour terms but also through the existence of 'meaningful difference' within some greater system of categories (Graeber, 2001). For example, actors along a commodity chain, from producers to trade managers, retailers, and consumers, are constantly creating and negotiating qualitative standards, tastes, preferences, and images of authenticity (Forster, 2006). ...
... In demonstrating diferent aspects of the prison data labour case, we build on a processual understanding where diferent values might be at stake for the collaborating parties. In this view, value is located not in aesthetically desirable objects, monetary transactions or people but in how relations to technological processes, including various kinds of agencies, are mediated (Graeber, 2001). According to David Graeber (2001), value is related to actions, emergent in social aims, and within particular sets of circumstances. ...
... While the money qua value should be seen as rather ubiquitous in distinct empirical cases of extractivism, having money qua value as the measure for extractivism is also controversial, at least if we take that value to be decided via global markets (Graeber 2001). While it allows analyzing a broader range of distinct social practices as extractive, it simultaneously entails commensurability of those distinct issuesin that it implies everything is measurable through money. ...
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Research on extractivism has rapidly proliferated, expanding into new empirical and conceptual spaces. We examine the origins, evolution, and conceptual expansion of the concept. Extractivism is useful to analyze resource extraction practices around the world. ‘Global Extractivism’ is a new conceptual tool for assessing global phenomena. We situate extractivism within an ensemble of concepts, and explore its relation to development, the state, and value. Extractivism as an organizing concept addresses many fields of research. Extractivism forms a complex of self-reinforcing practices, mentalities, and power differentials underwriting and rationalizing socio-ecologically destructive modes of organizing life-through subjugation, depletion, and non-reciprocity.
... Recognition of such value pluralism is not new, but has been advocated in predominantly noneconomist disciplines like anthropology (e.g. Graeber, 2001) and environmental ethics (e.g. Hourdequin, 2015) and has become an important theme in the critical discipline of ecological economics (Spash, 2017). ...
Chapter
Over fifty years of global conservation has failed to bend the curve of biodiversity loss, so we need to transform the ways we govern biodiversity. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity aims to develop and implement a transformative framework for the coming decades. However, the question of what transformative biodiversity governance entails and how it can be implemented is complex. This book argues that transformative biodiversity governance means prioritizing ecocentric, compassionate and just sustainable development. This involves implementing five governance approaches - integrative, inclusive, adaptive, transdisciplinary and anticipatory governance - in conjunction and focused on the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and unsustainability. Transforming Biodiversity Governance is an invaluable source for academics, policy makers and practitioners working in biodiversity and sustainability governance. This is one of a series of publications associated with the Earth System Governance Project. For more publications, see www.cambridge.org/earth-system-governance. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
... Refiero, entonces, al capital en términos económicos, pero también morales y de poder (Narotzky, 2007) que se expresan en la capacidad de (o la pugna por la capacidad) de trasformar los pesos en dólares, de hacer uso de las políticas de Estado y de incidir en ellas. Y también en la posibilidad de producir un valor no mercantil a partir del dinero (Graeber, 2001). ...
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Todo el segundo mandato de Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2011-2015) estuvo sig- nado por grandes manifestaciones por la prohibición de la compra de dólares para ateso- ramiento. En las marchas se expresaba el descontento de ciertos sectores que veían en riesgo su modo de vida que pudo ser condensada en el dólar: falta de libertad (para com- prarlos, para viajar), falta de seguridad, falta de derechos, intromisión del Estado en la vida privada, elección de mantener a los vagos y a los “negros” por sobre los trabajadores, etc. En este artículo, a partir del trabajo de campo realizado entre 2012 y 2015 con gru- pos de personas que protestaban contra el gobierno de Cristina Fernández de Kirchner y se consideraban de clase media, analizo algunos de los modos en los que la moviliza- ción del dinero permitió generar formas de diferenciación entre grupos sociales. Mi argumento es que durante las protestas contra el gobierno de Cristina Fernández de Kirchner el dólar fue utilizado por un grupo de sectores medios como un objeto de dife- renciación social a partir de la capacidad de movilizar a la moneda norteamericana entre diferentes esferas de valor.
... I draw on Gregory's (1997, 13) direct sales a marketing strategy in which sales are made in face-to-face interactions with vendors away from a store or formal retail location definition of values as "invisible chains that link relations between things to relations between people." Value is what underpins social action and motivates people to engage in exchange and other social realms (Graeber 2001;Gregory 1997;Piot 1991). In some societies, more than one system of value shapes local life, as communities move seamlessly between long-standing local values and more recently introduced capitalist ones, such as the pursuit of wealth and resources (Cahn 2006;Fischer 2002;Fischer and Benson 2006;Gregory 1997;Goldín 2009;Kistler 2014;Little 2004;Sahlins 1988;Uzendoski 2005). ...
Chapter
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Work and the division of labour have been central issues to the study of gender disparities and inequalities historically and worldwide. In Nepal, the changing modes of production and living under the urban-development paradigm have provoked a rapidly transformation of social structures and hierarchies, including gender. Through a multi-sited ethnography in rural and urban settings of Nepal, this paper explores the constant (re)shaping of the meanings and patterns of work for Sherpa women. This paper reveals at least three important factors to look at. First, the hegemonic development discourses symbolically situate ‘modern’ jobs as desirable, particularly for women, who are usually considered independent or empowered if they participate in the productive economy and bring a monetary income to the household. Consequently, government and international organization’s promote them as preferable over other traditional activities. Secondly, as far as those kinds of jobs are mostly accessible in urban settings, a particular mobility regime exists in Nepal, which promotes the dislocation of rural population to the main cities or abroad, especially young people. Finally, education is seen as a strategic access door to paid jobs and modern lifestyles, particularly for young women. To study further they need to move to Kathmandu or abroad, adapting therefore their livelihoods and job expectations. Findings show how femininity is negotiated between the ‘traditional’ and the ‘modern’, the public and the private, the rural and the urban, the ‘hard’ and the ‘easy’ work and lifestyles. A negotiation where their desires and expectations clash with the reality: poor quality of education, precarious jobs and an increasingly individualistic city-lifestyle. Their experiences reveal the opening of an intersectional dialogue where not only gender but also age becomes relevant to the valuation of women’s roles, capacities and values in a Nepal worshipping modern and ‘developed’ lifestyles.
... Humanitarian aid infrastructure acquires another value when reappropriated or upcycled by camp residents. And the biography of materials further contributes to their value (Graeber 2001;: the fact that they once belonged to aid agencies, the government or the military adds to their value as upcycled items, as does the human agency that is incorporated in them through their upcycling (Petridou 2020). David Graeber in his anthropological theory of value demonstrates this by explaining that a thing's value does not rely primarily on the thing itself but on its history (2001). ...
... In demonstrating diferent aspects of the prison data labour case, we build on a processual understanding where diferent values might be at stake for the collaborating parties. In this view, value is located not in aesthetically desirable objects, monetary transactions or people but in how relations to technological processes, including various kinds of agencies, are mediated (Graeber, 2001). According to David Graeber (2001), value is related to actions, emergent in social aims, and within particular sets of circumstances. ...
... Put simply, people are bound to each other and to the things that surround them by durable links that provide a personal identity for the individual (Carrier 1992: 539). Here the work of building relations with people, things, and the landscape signifies an expansive and ethnographically variable notion of labor as social creativity (Graeber 2001)effecting the world through the creation of new social forms and relations-framed by local cosmological idioms of productivity and vulnerability (Turner 2008). Alienation is a state in which these open-ended relations are not reciprocated and thus ruptured, leaving the giver alienated from that which they have given. ...
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As the Gaddi community of Himalayan India transition from agro–pastoralism to waged labor, configurations of kinship and care have shifted. Such shifts have introduced relational tensions, especially between elderly women, who have labored in the house and fields, expecting care in old age, and younger generations, who experience their own pressures of class aspiration. This article examines how the myriad tensions of the post‐pastoral economy are experienced in the bodies of elderly women. It presents insights on kamzori, bodily weakness that is experienced by women who feel that their contribution of labor and care is unreciprocated by their kin or wider milieu. It recuperates alienation as a concept that captures distressed social relations. Alienation might be used by anthropologists studying aging, care, and debility to envisage the body in scalar relation to people, things and places, and illness or distress as disruption of such relations. [weakness, aging, care, gender, alienation]
... A commodity's value thus emerges through its movement as well as through the social relations, material networks, and ideological connections between producers and consumers (Forster, 2006). This commodity value is therefore defined not only in Marxist economic and labour terms but also through the existence of 'meaningful difference' within some greater system of categories (Graeber, 2001). For example, actors along a commodity chain, from producers to trade managers, retailers, and consumers, are constantly creating and negotiating qualitative standards, tastes, preferences, and images of authenticity (Forster, 2006). ...
... The latest governance initiatives are ambitious in their goals but leave much to be desired from the perspective of the social sciences and humanities. They typically employ limited conceptions of value that ignore decades of research that would enable an exploration and reimagination of the different facets of values invested in current algorithmic systems (Graeber, 2001;Sykes, 2018). Rather than retaining the flexibility of ethical considerations to react to emerging practices in data-intensive automated technologies, ethics can be reduced to codes of conduct (Rességuier & Rodrigues, 2020). ...
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In this article, we study how people define, negotiate, and perform autonomy in relation to digital technologies, specifically in connection with behavioral insurance policies that involve forms of data tracking and health services. The article builds on focus group discussions, which we treat as a dynamic site of ethico‐political deliberation to test ideas, talk about boundaries of acceptable control, and envision future scenarios. The ethico‐political deliberations assess the legitimacy and usability of new behavioral tools. Concern over the nature and limits of autonomy is activated when people discuss how wellbeing‐related decisions are delegated to algorithmically controlled systems. We argue for appreciating autonomy as a relational and ambiguous notion that is sensed and enacted in collaborations with devices in the form of distributed autonomy. Moreover, as reflected by the experiences of the insured, “autonomy” cannot be analyzed solely in the form transmitted by the liberal tradition; that is, as a clear‐cut entity that can simply be “had”, “exerted”, or “controlled”. Consequently, research, ethical considerations, and governance initiatives should pay attention to how values are “done” in the affect‐laden technologically mediated relations and practices.
... Why, for example, are some goods valued as exchange commodities? Anthropological research has made clear the ambiguous nature of value (Graeber 2001). Transactants may value goods due to simple considerations of relative dearness based on supply and demand, or because of their utility for the satisfaction of human wants, rational valuations that may be easily parsed through economic analysis. ...
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In the Bronze Age Mediterranean, trade was a key mechanism that defined the era’s political, social, and economic dynamism. This paper reviews recent methodological and empirical developments in the study of trade in the Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean, with a focus on the Late Bronze Age. The complexity of the relevant evidence presents nontrivial interpretative challenges, and a variety of schools of thought concerning the methods and approaches best suited for enlightening economic exchange through the study of archaeological remains co-exist. New insights based on empirical study of archaeological evidence have primarily coalesced around topics that have long been central to the study of trade, especially the sources and destinations of metal resources and the distribution of ceramic containers and their contents. Developing areas of emphasis, such as the roles of merchants and traders, have simultaneously emerged. Both novel methods and recent empirical insights highlight the difficulty inherent in attempts to relate artifacts to commercial exchange due to the variety of human and material mobilities apparent in the archaeological record. The path forward for understanding Bronze Age trade economies will require carefully tailoring research questions that may be answered in concrete ways with the evidence available and developing interpretative frameworks that can accommodate both bottom-up views emphasizing individual agency and generalizing models that facilitate comparison through space and time.
... Thus, money does not just preserve economic value; it is also a multifaceted component of social life (Graeber 2001;Maurer 2006). ...
Article
Since the early 21st century the US dollar has been a public issue in Argentina, where the dollarization of sectors of the economy has been an ongoing process for some time. Indeed, circulation of the dollar has grown to the point that it is considered the best way to build savings and has a significant influence on daily economic life. Since 1980, the process of dollarization and outbreak of economic crises have been intertwined. This period can be divided into different crises: 1989 was a crisis of hyperinflation, 2001 was a major debt crisis, and the 2011–2015 crisis grew out of a struggle between the middle classes and the government in response to a ban on buying and accumulating dollars in large quantities. This latest round of crisis continues. Money is a universal measurement of value, encompassing values beyond the purely economic. In Argentina, the US dollar both activates crisis and is activated by crisis. Quotidian rituals have developed and standardized in conjunction with the popularization of the dollar, making it a central object of everyday life in Argentina. Indeed, the dollar provides an excellent starting place for a decently thorough history of contemporary Argentina. By focusing on the relationships and practices that have developed around the dollar, one can begin to understand how flesh and blood people have worked to build dignified lives and ways of living in relationship to one another. The dollar, both as a form of currency and in its demonetarized form, articulates a series of imaginaries about what a life worth living is. The dollar has catalyzed national models and projects. The dollar is a part of the daily experience of large portions of the population. And, when uncertainty grows, the dollar stabilizes.
... It is precisely for this reason that the experience of performing this work is affectively different than the experience of performing the very same kind of work as part of a community in which that work is perceived as a contribution to a collective goal, intention or value. The concept of 'alienation' -employed by Kirchhoff and Kiverstein in their (somewhat unwieldy) example of 'cultural shock' -was originally used to describe the first (much more common) kind of experience (Marx 1964; see also Graeber 2001). Our argument here accords with recent work within the field of 'situated affectivity' and with recent calls for 'extended emotions' (Slaby 2014;Krueger and Szanto 2016;León et al. 2019). ...
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The extended mind thesis states that the mind is not brain-bound but extends into the physical world. The philosophical debate around the thesis has mostly focused on extension towards epistemic artefacts, treating the phenomenon as a special capacity of the human organism to recruit external physical resources to solve individual tasks. This paper argues that if the mind extends to artefacts in the pursuit of individual tasks, it extends to other humans in the pursuit of collective tasks. Mind extension to other humans corresponds essentially to the ‘we-mode’ of cognition, the unique power of human minds to be jointly directed at goals, intentions, states of affairs, or values (which, importantly, differs from having a ‘group mind’). Because the capacity for collective intentionality holds evolutionary and developmental primacy over human-epistemic artefacts relations, the extended mind should not be seen as a special phenomenon, but as a central aspect of the human condition. The original extended mind thesis carried important implications for how the cognitive sciences should proceed. In a version of the thesis that accommodates collective intentionality, these implications would go far deeper than originally assumed.
Chapter
Over fifty years of global conservation has failed to bend the curve of biodiversity loss, so we need to transform the ways we govern biodiversity. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity aims to develop and implement a transformative framework for the coming decades. However, the question of what transformative biodiversity governance entails and how it can be implemented is complex. This book argues that transformative biodiversity governance means prioritizing ecocentric, compassionate and just sustainable development. This involves implementing five governance approaches – integrative, inclusive, adaptive, transdisciplinary and anticipatory governance – in conjunction and focused on the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and unsustainability. Transforming Biodiversity Governance is an invaluable source for academics, policy makers and practitioners working in biodiversity and sustainability governance. This is one of a series of publications associated with the Earth System Governance Project. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core. INGRID J. VISSEREN-HAMAKERS serves as Professor and Chair of the Environmental Governance and Politics (EGP) group at Radboud University, Netherlands, and specializes in transformative global environmental governance. She aims to contribute to both academic and societal debates on how societies and economies can become sustainable. Her research focuses on governing the relationships between animal interests, biodiversity and food, among others. MARCEL T. J. KOK is Programme Leader of the International Biodiversity Policy group at PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. His research concentrates on global environmental governance and scenario analysis of global environmental problems, with a focus on biodiversity. He specializes in bottom-up governance approaches.<br/
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As international borders closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian horticultural industry experienced a dramatic reduction of key groups of workers upon which it has come to depend, particularly at harvest. These labour shortages focused public attention on the importance of seasonal labour for horticultural production and the availability of fresh fruit and produce, resulting in a paradoxical revaluation of that work. On the one hand, seasonal farm work was revalued as essential labour, and migrant workers were acknowledged as critical to Australia’s food security. On the other hand, the increased visibility of seasonal farm work highlighted its systematic de valuing as so-called unskilled work that is done for low wages, under often poor conditions, and that is widely figured through racialized narratives. Faced with the prospect of critical labour shortages, both industry and government sought—and largely failed—to reinscribe the terms by which seasonal labour was imagined in attempts to make it attractive to “local” workers. What resulted was an entrenching of uneven distributions of precarity, risk and vulnerability along the fault lines of race and migration status.
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Value is a conception, explicit or implicit, distinctive of an individual or characteristic of a group, of the desirable which influences the selection from available modes, means and ends of action. 2
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Anthropological thinking on water security and scarcity can be traced through four scholarly approaches: political ecology of water scarcity, water insecurity, water economics, and human- water relationality. Political ecologists argue that water scarcity a sociopolitical process and not necessarily related to physical water availability. The political ecological approach is concerned with power, global-local dynamics, and how water scarcity is unevenly distributed within and across communities. Water insecurity research is concerned with how injustice and inequity shape household and individual variability in water insecurity. Inspired by biocultural research, water insecurity scholars have used systematic methods to advance theories of how water insecurity impacts mental health, food insecurity, dehydration, and other human biological outcomes. Economic anthropologists explore how economic dynamics—including formal and capitalist economies, noncapitalist and hybridized economies, reciprocity, social reproduction, and theft—shape water scarcity and insecurity. Research priorities in economic anthropology include water valuation, meanings of water, and water as an economic good. Building from Indigenous scholars’ insights, relational approaches argue that humans have reciprocal obligations to respect and care for water as a living being. Water justice, these scholars argue, requires restoring human-water relations and upholding Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. All four of these research areas—scarcity, insecurity, economics, and relationality—are producing cutting-edge research, with significant implications for research agendas in the anthropology of water security and scarcity.
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Impact investing has emerged as a topical subject-matter for scholars working at the intersection between finance and social policy. By and large, it is seen as a product of financialization: some argue that the social is colonized by financial actors and methods, others see it as a site where boundary work produces a state of value plurality in which competing values—social and financial—co-exist. This article takes the latter perspective further and unpacks the endogenous dynamics underpinning the creation of social values in impact investing programs. It analyzes how high-level organizations in the field prescribed specific social impact valuation processes and mechanisms for collecting, measuring, and reporting data about value creation. It argues that the social values circulating in the impact investing field emerge from the interplay between a wide array of stakeholders, impact investors included. The social impact accounting tools that capture them materialize therefore as sites of political battles and negotiations between stakeholders, with both emancipatory but also exploitative potential. This has consequences upon our understanding of how financialization travels and how the social dynamics underpinning accounting devices (re)draw boundaries between competing values and fields.
Article
Colombia accounts for 80 percent of the world's emerald market. The famous beauty of its emeralds is due, in part, to the delicate work that carvers have been developing for decades in downtown Bogotá workshops. They articulate the materiality of the stones, their bodies, and the carving machines, and take precise measures with a paradoxical aim: to exceed them. This way, the valuable qualities of emeralds emerge as surprises from the indeterminate relationship between measures and excesses. In this article, I show that Colombian carvers do this by constructing an (un)predictable space and interrupted time, related to the linear spatiotemporality of three recent political processes in Colombia: the peace agreement with FARC, the country's entry into the OECD, and the formalization of mining. Using “resource becoming” and infrastructures studies, I argue that this spatiotemporal conflict helps us to rethink the relationship between time, labor, and unpredictability in economic formalization and national pacification contexts. Colombia acapara el 80% del mercado mundial de esmeraldas. La famosa belleza de sus esmeraldas se debe en parte al delicado trabajo que los talladores desarrollan desde hace décadas en los talleres del centro de Bogotá. Articulando la materialidad de las piedras, sus cuerpos y las máquinas de talla, los talladores toman medidas precisas con un objetivo paradójico: excederlas. Así, las valiosas cualidades de estas piedras emergen como sorpresas de la relación indeterminada entre medidas y excesos. En este artículo muestro que los talladores colombianos hacen esto construyendo un espacio (im)predecible y un tiempo interrumpido conflictivamente relacionado con la espaciotemporalidad lineal de tres procesos políticos recientes en Colombia: el acuerdo de paz con las FARC, la entrada del país en la OCDE y la formalización de la minería. Utilizando los estudios sociales de las infraestructuras, sostengo que este conflicto espaciotemporal nos ayuda a repensar la relación entre tiempo, trabajo e imprevisibilidad en contextos de formalización económica y pacificación nacional.
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Entrada da Enciclopédia de Antropologia da USP
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Las criptomonedas, con más de diez años de existencia, ya no son un fenómeno que podríamos llamar novedoso. Sin embargo, es todavía un terreno en gran medida inexplorado por las ciencias sociales y por las humanidades. Algunos trabajos se han hecho en este sentido, de los cuales destaca el libro "The Bitcoin Standard" (El patrón Bitcoin) , que ubica el fenómeno en la historia monetaria y plantea su desarrollo subsecuente a partir de las teorías de la escuela austríaca de economía. Así y todo, ese libro está más orientado a la divulgación que a la discusión propiamente académica, en cuyo ámbito podemos encontrar la tesis de Peyrouzet García Siñeriz "In blockchain They Trust" (En la cadena de bloques confían) y el libro "Crypto Communisme" (Criptocomunismo) de Mark Alizart , de carácter político y filosófico. Por otro lado, Argentina tiene un desarrollo intelectual importante en materia de criptomonedas. Desde que un ciudadano haya registrado el dominio y la palabra “bitcoins” ocho años antes de su creación , la conformación de una ONG y plataformas de compraventa pioneras en la región, hasta el desarrollo de proyectos de vanguardia a nivel mundial como RSK. Es, entonces, un primer objetivo de esta tesis el de introducir Bitcoin, las criptomonedas y las cadenas de bloques en las ciencias sociales, desde una perspectiva antropológica y económica, sin descuidar sus fundamentos matemáticos y técnicos. En segundo lugar, este trabajo es un estudio de las criptomonedas consideradas una forma de moneda entre otras. Mas, para llevar a cabo tal empresa fue menéster abordar la historia, si bien no del dinero mismo, de los estudios acerca de él. El dinero y la moneda son objetos de estudio bastante marginales tanto en antropología como en economía, punto sobre el cual volveré a lo largo de este texto. Quienes tengan familiaridad con los autores y escuelas más importantes en materia antropológica, notarán la ausencia casi total de menciones a ellos en este estudio. Es por eso que toda la primera parte no está dedicada a las criptomonedas sino a las monedas en general y a las teorías que existen acerca de ellas, tanto en economía como en antropología. Este trabajo es, por lo tanto, un estudio del dinero y las monedas en general, incluídas las criptomonedas.
Article
Manifestation is a spiritual practice with material gains. It is a way for those involved with spirituality in Sedona, Arizona, to make money as required while maintaining a level of consonance between their economic life and spiritual path. Analysing the entwinement of economics and religion in everyday life, this article contributes to literature on spiritual economies and, more broadly, to the anthropology of money. Manifestation is a way of figuratively rematerializing exchange, mirrored in preferences for trade and barter and currency backed by gold. Dematerialized money – the stocks, bonds, and derivatives of high finance – is rejected as enacting a low vibration; it is negatively valenced in cosmologies of spirituality. Preferences for money forms reveal responses and reactions to neoliberal capitalism in an embedded, industrialized economy. Comment manifester l'abondance : argent et rematérialisation des échanges à Sedona (Arizona, Etats‐Unis) Résumé La manifestation est une pratique spirituelle apportant des gains matériels. À Sedona, ceux qui s'adonnent à la spiritualité y ont trouvé un moyen de gagner l'argent nécessaire tout en conciliant vie économique et parcours spirituel. Par l'analyse de cette intrication de l’économie et de la religion dans la vie quotidienne, le présent article apporte une contribution à la littérature sur les économies spirituelles et, plus largement, à l'anthropologie de l'argent. La manifestation est une manière de rematérialiser l’échange d'une façon figurative, qui transparaît dans les préférences pour le commerce et le troc et dans les monnaies garanties par l'or. L'argent dématérialisé (actions, obligations, produits financiers dérivés) est rejeté car producteur de vibrations faibles ; sa valence est négative dans les cosmologies de la spiritualité. Les préférences pour les formes monétaires révèlent des réponses et réactions au capitalisme néolibéral dans une économie industrialisée intégrée.
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This paper analyzes the intersection between waste, value, and the right to the city within the context of the Municipal Recycling Collection Program in Salvador, Brazil. It shows how the legal recognition of recyclable-waste collectors as legitimate workers and their integration into municipal practices of waste management has not materialized into improved working conditions and has done nothing to advance their struggle for the right to the city. A critical value perspective on this specific case demonstrates that waste and “humans-as-waste” “switching” from not-value to value-in-the-making does not represent a way of escaping abjection and exploitation. Instead, the inclusion of cooperative collectors into the municipal recycling collection program has resulted in new forms of dispossession, through state-increased control over recyclables and in the municipality appropriating the value produced by the struggles, knowledge, and informal collective labor of the collectors. The right to the city for waste workers in Salvador therefore entails the right to work with dignity and the re-appropriation of waste as the urban commons to create livelihoods based on labor relations and regimes of value against and beyond capitalism.
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Building on concepts developed in earlier chapters, we now examine the history of the United States more specifically, to analyze the long-term impact of the “real abstractions” of property and money on economic and human development. We will find an arc of global rise and fall for both the United States as global hegemon and for capitalism, with the remaining power based on a key currency and strong military, with degraded human skills and environment, insecure employment, economic instability, and intense political polarization.
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En este artículo analizo las experiencias productivas vinculadas al emprendedurismo de destinatarios/as de políticas de economía social en asentamientos irregulares de la ciudad de Rosario, Argentina. Parto de un estudio etnográfico que combinó técnicas de entrevistas en profundidad, observación participante y análisis de narrativas biográficas que me permitieron restituir los sentidos, valores, prácticas y significaciones elaboradas por las personas emprendeduristas. Presento las modalidades de implementación de las políticas sociales de la Secretaría de Economía Social de Rosario; describo las características y estructuras productivas de los emprendimientos y finalmente me detengo en los sentidos y prácticas puestos en juego por las y los destinatarios de dichas políticas, en respuesta a las tensiones y reapropiaciones de las propuestas estatales.
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The metaphor that ‘data is the new oil’ points to the perception of data as a valuable resource in the form of raw material for algorithmic processing at the centre of data capitalism and its underlying process of datafication. While many point to broader consequences of datafication for social life there is still a need for analytical models to understand the complexity, scale, and dynamics behind these transformations. To focus on data as value is one such approach that is pursued in this chapter. The point of departure is Dewey’s Theory of Valuation (1939), which is discussed in relation to anthropological, sociological, and economic theories of value. The second section presents an analytical model for the study of the dynamics of data capitalism and the process of datafication. This is then illustrated with two examples that highlight the relations between the inner dynamics of data capitalism before the chapter ends with some conclusive recommendations for future empirical research.
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The article critically reviews concepts and uses of the term altruism in relation to the emergence of the capitalist welfare state. It argues that altruism may be regarded as a fetishized representation of ‘sociality’ and that notions of altruism tend to obscure or distort understandings of the essential social interdependence that characterises humanity as a species. The article reaches back to anthropological evidence, to religious and philosophical influences, and to insights from scientific inquiry and it makes a case for a humanistic switch in perspective within the study of social policy.
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Cette thèse se base sur une ethnographie de la vie quotidienne de réfractaires qui, se voyant vieillir, se sont échappé du travail en quittant la sédentarité au profit d’un habitat mobile, et qui s’installent chaque hiver près de la ville de Quartzsite, dans le désert de La Posa. Ces habitants du désert acquièrent quotidiennement des biens qui proviennent de l’économie marchande de la ville, qu’ils mettent ensuite en circulation dans le désert sous la forme de dons. A partir des travaux de Marcel Mauss, cette thèse analyse le rôle de l’espace dans l’articulation entre échanges de dons et économie marchande.Tout d'abord, la thèse étudie comment l’espace rend possible une structure de l’échange de dons et comment, dialectiquement, celle-ci produit l’espace. Nous montrons ensuite que les échanges de dons ont une fonction de régulation et de reproduction de l’espace d’un hiver à l’autre. Nous changeons ensuite d’échelle pour étudier la relation entre désert et ville via une ethnocomptabilité réalisée avec deux enquêtés. En suivant quotidiennement, dix jours durant, leurs trajets et leurs échanges économiques, et en étudiant ce qu’ils comptent et comment ils le comptent, nous montrons que leur consommation repose sur une mise en coopération des deux espaces économiques, notamment par le biais d’usages différenciés de la monnaie en fonction des espaces. En s’appuyant sur la consommation de marchandises, les échanges de dons s’appuient indirectement sur du travail, et reproduisent ainsi des formes de dominations propres à la division sexuelle du travail. Cette thèse participe donc à une meilleure compréhension du don en étudiant un cas contemporain dans sa relation, notamment spatiale, avec l’économie marchande dans laquelle il est imbriqué.
Article
The residents of Gilbert Camp, an illegal settlement on the outskirts of Honiara, the capital city of Solomon Islands, recurrently declare that life in town is hard. However, they have been migrating there, they keep doing so notwithstanding great challenges, and create the conditions for others to settle too. The apparent contradiction between their ideas and behaviours is resolved by looking at their home‐making practices, and interpreting negative statements as commentaries. These commentaries evaluate their efforts to turn Honiara into a home and a place where they can live the “good” life. Home is not just a matter of urban belonging and place‐making, neither it is just a matter of surviving in the “hard” urban context; rather it is a complex negotiation between cultural priorities, the specific needs of local communities, and their commitment to create a home away from home.
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