The False Coin of Whose Dreams? Re-Reading David Graeber on Value

This is the first part of five sessions that will be discussing the introduction, chapter 1 and chapter 2 of the book Toward An Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams by David Graeber.

  • Wed 18 Oct 23

    12:00 - 15:00

  • Online

    join us online

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Centre for Commons Organising, Values Equalities and Resilience (COVER) Research seminar series

  • Event organiser

    Centre for Commons Organising Values Equalities and Resilience

  • Contact details

    COVER Seminar Organisers

Part one of five in a series discussing the book Toward An Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams by David Graeber. In this session we will be reading the introduction, chapter 1 and chapter 2. 

Now a widely cited classic, this innovative book is the first comprehensive synthesis of economic, political, and cultural theories of value. David Graeber reexamines a century of anthropological thought about value and exchange, in large measure to find a way out of ongoing quandaries in current social theory, which have become critical at the present moment of ideological collapse in the face of Neoliberalism. Rooted in an engaged, dynamic realism, Graeber argues that projects of cultural comparison are in a sense necessarily revolutionary projects: He attempts to synthesize the best insights of Karl Marx and Marcel Mauss, arguing that these figures represent two extreme, but ultimately complementary, possibilities in the shape such a project might take. Graeber breathes new life into the classic anthropological texts on exchange, value, and economy. He rethinks the cases of Iroquois wampum, Pacific kula exchanges, and the Kwakiutl potlatch within the flow of world historical processes, and recasts value as a model of human meaning-making, which far exceeds rationalist/reductive economist paradigms.


How to join this seminar

This seminar will take place online on Wednesday 18 October at 12pm.

This seminar is free to attend with no need to register in advance.

We welcome you to join us online.


Schedule for upcoming sessions

Part in series Date Reading
 Part 1 18 October 2023 Introduction, Chapters 1-2 
 Part 2 1 November 2023  Chapters 3
 Part 3 8 November 2023 Chapter 4
 Part 4 15 November 2023 Chapter 5 
 Part 5 22 November 2023 Chapters 6-7