The Political Economy of Culture
Course code
old course code
Course title in Estonian
Kultuuri poliitiline ökonoomia
Course title in English
The Political Economy of Culture
ECTS credits
Assessment form
lecturer of 2021/2022 Autumn semester
Eeva Kesküla (language of instruction:English)
lecturer of 2021/2022 Spring semester
lecturer not assigned
Course aims
The course objective is to analyse the economy and capitalism from an anthropological and political economy perspective through the analysis of ethnographic texts, films; and discussions, exercises and group work.
Brief description of the course
This course gives participants the tools to understand the economy and economic activities as social relations interwoven with everyday life that currently takes place in the context of global capitalism. It looks at the economy not as an abstract and distant construct studied by economists but rather as it unfolds in the lives of ordinary people who create, resist and are resilient to or suffer from economic change. The course has two starting points: the ideas of Karl Polanyi and Karl Marx on the one hand and early ethnographic work of Malinowski and Marcel Mauss on the other. Unfolding from these theoretical foundations, the course covers topics such as gifts and commodities, money and markets, debt and financialisaton, struggles between labour and capital, social inequalities based on ethnicity, class, and gender. Through class discussions and analysis of ethnographic texts, it gives participants an opportunity to critically question the possibilities of livelihoods and a good life in contemporary capitalism discuss alternatives and a more ‘human economy’.
Learning outcomes in the course
Upon completing the course the student:
- has attained familiarity with the conceptual tools for the critical analysis of economic relations from an anthropological and political economy perspective;
- is able to discuss, compare and contrast ethnographic work orally and in written form;
- based on ethnographic texts and discussions with peers, is able to compare and contrast economic issues and practices and intersectional inequalities in different cultural contexts
Eeva Kesküla