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Three Ways of Talking about Value

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Abstract

If one reads a lot of anthropology, it is hard to escape the impression that theories of value are all the rage of late. One certainly sees references to “value” and “theories of value” all the time—usually thrown out in such a way as to suggest there is a vast and probably very complicated literature lying behind them.1 If one tries to track this literature down, however, one quickly runs into problems. In fact it is extremely difficult to find a systematic “theory of value” anywhere in the recent literature; and it usually turns out to be very difficult to figure out what body of theory, if any, that any particular author who uses the term “value” is drawing on. Sometimes, one suspects it is this very ambiguity that makes the term so attractive.

Keywords

  • Color Term
  • Grand Theory
  • Anthropological Theory
  • Gift Economy
  • Economic Anthropology

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9780312299064_1
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© 2001 David Graeber

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Graeber, D. (2001). Three Ways of Talking about Value. In: Toward An Anthropological Theory of Value. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780312299064_1

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