Political and Economic Anthropology

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Political and Economic Anthropology

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Learning objectives Knowledge and understanding: The student has acquired knowledge and understanding of:
    (1) the key concepts in economics and politics;
    (2) the ways in which politics and economics locally and globally are intertwined.

    Application. Students have acquired the competences to:
    (3) to synthesise these key concepts, and to compare them over space and over time in a written argument;
    (4) apply key concepts from economic and political anthropology to different ethnographic contexts around the globe.

    ‘Time is money!’ or not? Not really! How old is money and why we invented it? What types of currency we have right now around the world? How societies operate without or limited money? What is debt and are you already in debt and you just do not know it? Is your PIN card real? Do the mortgage you are getting for a house actually exist? What are the economic processes that every single society has everywhere in the world and throughout human history? Do political decisions determine the economic sphere or vice versa? Who is governing this country? The King? The Prime Minster? Bankers? The voters? The European Committee? Trump? Or none of the above? What is state and why it was developed? Why we have corruption and what it is? Who builds the road in societies with ineffective State apparatuses? Why do you have to fill forms all the time and why airport security is failing us all the time but still is not reformed? What is commons and what is private property? And who invented the latter, when and why?

    This course will answer these and the rest of the questions that students have about politics and economics in contemporary world and also during the entire human history.

    Lectures and tutorials

    Written assignments and final exam. Please note: Attending the course’s sessions and reading all the essential readings (2 per session [provided in the online site of the course]) is obligatory if you wish to pass this course. Marking criteria will be provided in advance.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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