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Semester and Year Offered: 6th Semester (Winter Semester 2019)
Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Smita Tiwari Jassal and Dr. Rinju Rasaily
Email of course coordinator: rinju[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in
Aim: This is an advanced undergraduate course to introduce students of sociology and social anthropology to the ways in which economic aspects of society have been studied by our discipline.
Brief description of modules/ Main modules:
Module 1: Economy and Exchange in Simple Societies
This module challenges mainstream assumptions about pre-modern societies at many levels. The readings are seminal texts that assemble ethnographic evidence from a range of early societies. First the readings challenge the notion that so-called primitive peoples are not driven by economic calculation or self-interest. A second assumption to be interrogated is about the ubiquity of patriarchy. Paradoxically, it is in early societies that more egalitarian forms of division of labor are encountered. We shall examine the implications of the sexual division of labor, women’s work, women’s wealth and women’s productivity for these economies. Thus work, private property and exchange - key elements of economic phenomena are examined through the anthropological and ethnographic texts in this module.
Module 2: Peasant Production, Property and Money
This module will examine what is distinctive about peasant societies, how they are organized, the division of labour, as well as their work cultures. How they differ from aboriginal societies as well as industrial societies will be discussed. We shall also focus on differentiations within peasant societies, and touch on notions of subsistence ethic, moral economy, surplus, private property etc. The module draws on some theoretical literature on peasantries and offers readings on peasantry in colonial India.
Module 3: Markets
Module Three offers insights on markets and economic exchanges in pre-modern societies. The evidence ranges from motifs and anecdotes of economic transactions in a text such as the Thousand and One Nights to evidence of market transactions in early colonial Bengal in songs of the Bauls, and the epic or gatha traditions of the Bhojpuri speaking belt. These are rich sources for evidence of markets and bazars and their relevance and criticality for pre-modern economies. The module asks not only what was transacted in these spaces but also how and what kinds of cultural give and take occurred. Since bazars, melas or fairs are rich sources for understanding a range of extra-economic transactions, these will also be explored in the module. .
Unit 4: A Form of Capital
In the final module our effort will be to examine how pre-modern forms of economic activity might continue, and even co-exist, with modern industrial forms. Through select readings the impact of forces of globalization on the socio-economic and political processes will be examined in this module. How societies get re-structured and vulnerabilities get accentuated are some of the dimensions that will be examined in this module.
Assessment Details with weights: