The first four weeks of the semester will introduce you to the different ways that anthropologists
have sought to understand economic behaviour. After this first block of lectures and tutorials – dealing
with ‘theories’ – you will be asked to write a 750 word paper to demonstrate your understanding of the
different approaches we have been discussing.
The topic for that paper is:
Humans are simultaneously self-interested, social and moral beings.
Select one of these aspects of human nature, and discuss its
implications for the analysis of variation in economic behaviour. Outline
the way ‘value’ is understood from that perspective, and the limitations
that this understanding places on the kinds of questions that can be
asked or answered about economic decisions.
To handle this topic well you will need to understand how the approach on which you have chosen to
focus differs from the others. Don’t simply regurgitate summaries from lectures or handouts, but
demonstrate your understanding by drawing on the readings for these weeks.
Your paper will be assessed on how well you deal with the sub-components of the topic:
Have you explained the basis for defining ‘value’ from the chosen perspective?
Have you addressed implications for explaining variation in economic behaviour?
Have you discussed how the perspective limits what questions are asked about
variation in behaviour, and what answers are considered legitimate?
You will be rewarded for effective use of ethnographic material to illustrate your points,
but remember that the points must first be made!
Note, too, that this is a formal essay, and should be properly referenced.
NOTE: If you are leading discussion in Week 3, you must write about either ‘self-interest’ or ‘morality’
for the class paper. If you are leading discussion in week 4, you must write about either ‘self-interest’
or ‘sociality’ for the class paper.
Submitting class papers:
You will need to submit this paper electronically through the Turnitin function, via the relevant
online submission portal in the LMS site for the subject.
This will act as an electronic receipt of the time and date of assessment submission.
Retain a copy of all papers submitted.
DUE DATE FOR CLASS PAPER: Thursday, August 24 … by 11:59pm
We’ll get the papers back to you within two weeks, if possible, to provide feedback on
your progress and clarify any misunderstandings that may have arisen.
See Subject Guide or LMS site for policies/procedures regarding
EXTENSIONS and PENALTIES for late submission of work