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Globalisation and the Market


This course can be followed as part of the BA specialisation “Global Connections”
(onderdeel BA Culturele Antropologie en Ontwikkelingssociologie)

Admission requirements

Only the following categories of students can register for this course:

  • Students enrolled for the BA programme “Culturele antropologie en ontwikkelingssociologie” at Leiden University who have passed the Propedeuse

  • Exchange and Study Abroad students

Please see below a description of the registration procedure.

Course Description

Globalisation is intrinsically connected to the market. Increasingly, markets become interdependent and transnational and the (neoliberal) market is often understood as the driving force of the globalization processes. Often it is assumed that globalizing markets (capitalism, colonialism, neoliberalism) lead to uniformity of the way in which people conduct their economic activities.
The key questions that are dealt with in this course are: What insights does anthropology and development sociology offer when they study rapidly expanding markets? What are the consequences for societies when markets change, new markets develop, or when existing markets become marginalized? Who are the winners and losers of new economic opportunities? How is trust in markets generated and sometimes broken down again? What are people’s concerns about wealth and profit? What is the (occult) imaginary realm of markets?

Course objectives

This course contributes to:

  • Becoming familiar with the major anthropological and sociological debates and findings on the nexus of markets, money, and globalization.

  • Insight into the methodological, particularly ethnographic, approach to the study of markets.

  • Raising historical sensitivity for our understanding of contemporary markets.

  • Familiarity with concepts, insights, and methods that reveal that our understanding of markets should not be reduced to the dichotomy rational-emotional.

  • Research experience: in order to combine theory and method students will carry out a small scale study.

  • Learning to compare financial communities at the core with those at the periphery.

  • The insight that anthropology should not confine itself to subaltern studies but that ethnographic research can be very helpful to understand the way in which elites function within markets.


  • Lectures: Fridays 10-13 h, from February 4th to May 20th, 2011. (No lectures on May 6 and May 13.)

  • Location: room 1A41 (4 Feb.) and room 5A29 (all other dates), Pieter de la Court Building (Faculty of Social Sciences)

  • Exam: May 27th, 10-13 h, room SB11, Pieter de la Court Building

  • Retake: June 24th, 10-13 h, room 1A22, Pieter de la Court Building

Mode of instruction

Total of 10 ECTS = 280 study hours (sbu)

  • lectures 11 × 2 h (33 sbu)

  • group discussions 11 × 1 h (22 sbu)

  • literature (ethnography and online articles)

  • research assignments

Every two weeks we look at a particular theme or problem with regards to globalization and the market. Lectures, literature, films, and research assignments all concern this particular theme.

Assesment method

  • AQCI assignment and presentation: 10% of the final grade

  • Interview assignment: 45%

  • Final exam: 45%


Blackboard module will be active from mid January 2011.
Students who have been granted admission must register for this course on Blackboard.

Reading list

  • Zaloom, Caitlin (2006) Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London. University of Chicago Press: Chicago. 238 p.

  • Wilson, Ara (2004) The Intimate Economies of Bangkok: Tomboys, Tycoons, and Avon Ladies in the Global City. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • articles available online

Books are avaliable at the Atleest Bookshop in Leiden (address: Kort Rapenburg 12/A).


  • Studenten CA-OS: inschrijving mogelijk via het secretariaat CA-OS, kamer 3A19, tel. 5273469, e-mail:, tussen 1 december 2010 en 15 januari 2011.

  • Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply for the exchange programme

Contact information

Dr. Erik Bähre: ; room nr. 3A29A (Pieter de la Court Building)