This course belongs to the part of the BA programme that complements basic economics curriculum with social scientific and historical studies. By completing this course students will get acquainted with basic concepts in classical and modern anthropology describing the material and cultural reproduction of society. Economic anthropology is one of the disciplines that look beyond short-term utility maximizing decisions of self-interested individuals when searching for the motivation, objectives and laws governing economic activity. Originally, this field of anthropology studied how economic activities based on competition and acquisitiveness coexist and are often intertwined with those based on solidarity, social recognition or other principles in non-Western societies. Other schools of economic anthropology are interested in how economic relations, practices of power and mainstream (or marginal) ideologies are linked in both Western societies and the peripheries.
The course will enable students to recognize that even the most modern economies are surrounded and interpreted by cultural worlds that invest economic transactions, social relations and institutions with different meanings and significance. The different topics discussed will uncover that various moral, religious and cultural values are also circulated together with material values in economic processes. These values can often be found in the basic structure of institutions, but are often dispersed in micro-practices or found on the peripheries of institutions. Having an anthropological insight will help students understand those phenomenon that economics often considers externalities, and what economic history and economic sociology describes as social embeddedness.