ANTH3413 Social Meaning of Money

6 points
Not available in 2020UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Anthropology and Sociology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
The language and models used in finance have come to dominate more than simply the business pages. Citizens as consumers and investors are increasingly expected to have financial literacy as a core skill and engage with the culture of measurement in the form of self-management, audit and forms of accountability. Financial markets have become the central feature of contemporary capitalism as profits become more tied to forms of rent, develop seemingly unending possibilities for the distribution of risk and are less connected to trade and commodity production. This unit examines how anthropologists have studied the increased importance of finance, audit and money. What are the implications of these new forms for the self and for social organisation? What are the fictions of finance, its techniques and apparatus? What are the social and cultural realities of financial service professionals, their worksites and their instruments such as futures, derivatives, options and audits? How can these specific examples be extended to understand broader issues, social worlds, institutions and other experiences? The unit links contemporary theoretical and methodological innovations with anthropology's long interest in alternative economic forms. Although based in anthropological work, the unit is interdisciplinary in scope.
Students are able to (1) describe the key conceptual and methodological innovations in a contemporary sub field within anthropology/sociology; (2) describe the key concepts, theories and debates within the anthropology/sociology of money, finance and audit; (3) situate this new field with related work in economic anthropology, ethnographic research methods, organisation studies, migration studies and interdisciplinary work in the social studies of finance; (4) analyse the social/cultural underpinnings of key technocratic practices in contemporary globalisation; (5) develop a written and oral capacity to present clear, lucid, well-documented arguments, drawing on both theory and empirical or ethnographic material relevant to this unit in a collegial manner and setting; and (6) tackle novel situations and ill-defined problems.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) participation/oral presentation; (2) essay or other written work; and (3) test(s). Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Debra McDougall
Unit rules
any Level 1 Anthropology unit
ANTH2205 The Social Meaning of Money
Contact hours
up to 3 hours per week
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