Fetish and Value

Curated by Stas Kraev

“When I conceived the idea of writing my own ‘Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value’ in the late 1990s, I originally … imagined its appearance would be followed by irate critiques from many of the principals insisting I had got their core arguments wrong, and a flurry of productive debates. Nothing of the sort ensued.”

David Graeber (2013) from “It is Value that Brings Universes into Being.”

I share the disappointment. In this book David isn’t thinking of creating a theory of value, but rather about capturing the live debate happening around him in the world of high academia. He intended to contribute, to receive feedback, and to further the cause. The academia didn’t respond and David never had an opportunity to bring this to the people.

So this is exactly what I want to do in this group. To process David’s (and his teacher’s) ideas about value into a format accessible to a wider audience and if academia decides that this theory isn’t complete enough to give it to people then they are welcome to chime in.

I would like to start this group by reading Davids essay “Fetishism as Social Creativity“.

The recordings of the past sessions are available on our youtube-channel. We have already discussed “Fetishism as Social Creativity“, “Turning Modes of Production Inside Out” and “The Very Idea of Consumption“. The next up will be “Beads and Money”.