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  • © 2001

Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value

The False Coin of Our Own Dreams

Palgrave Macmillan

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Table of contents (7 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xiii
  2. Three Ways of Talking about Value

    • David Graeber
    Pages 1-22
  3. Current Directions In Exchange Theory

    • David Graeber
    Pages 23-47
  4. Value as the Importance of Actions

    • David Graeber
    Pages 49-89
  5. Marcel Mauss Revisited

    • David Graeber
    Pages 151-228
  6. Back Matter

    Pages 263-337

About this book

Now a widely cited classic, this innovative book 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.

Keywords

  • creativity
  • dream
  • dreams
  • economy
  • Marx
  • neoliberalism
  • realism
  • revolution
  • social theory
  • thought

Reviews

'I have not enjoyed or been so inspired by a work in anthropological theory for quite some time - I am convinced that this book is extremely important to the field of anthropology and to social theory more generally, offering alternatives to the relentlessly bleak theorizing of most post-structuralist and postmodernist critical theory - I think this book might well become a classic.' - Thomas Abercrombie, NYU

'David Graeber is probably the most exciting young anthropologist in the field today.' - Judith Friedlander, Dean of Social Sciences (Graduate Faculty), New School for Social Research

About the author

David Graeber is Professor of Anthropology at The London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. He is the author of Debt: The First 5000 Years (2011), The Utopia of Rules (2015) and Bullshit Jobs: A Theory (2018). In addition to his academic work, Graeber is an activist, who has been involved with such movements as the Global Justice Movement and Occupy Wall Street.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook
USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-0-312-29906-4
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD 74.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)