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Option One:
As Chibnik explains, Anthropologists have developed a number of critiques of the concept of the household, one of the basic units in neoclassical economics, drawing in part upon the ethnographic analysis of kinship and gender.  Compare and contrast the roles of kinship, gender and household organization among Gambian farmers (as described by Schroeder and Shipton) and Darjeeling plantation workers (as described by Besky).  In what ways can anthropological critiques of the concept of the household be applied to these cases?  How does gender as a set of cultural models and as system of social roles shape economic activities?  How does attention to gender allow anthropologists to understand the consequences of connections between domestic groups and larger economic processes?
Option Two:
Geographical Indications, Fair Trade, “Shade Grown” Coffee, and similar designations and/or certifications all allow the production of value above and beyond use value of a commodity.  As Besky and Lyon highlight, these marketing strategies rely upon symbolic representations of people, places and environments, and involve efforts to cultivate particular sensibilities and desires among consumers, in part through “the management of….knowledge and the associated sign values” (Lyon 380).  Drawing on comparisons with Besky and Lyon, analyze any two of the following: (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
How do the sites represent their products, the producers, and the production processes?  How do these representations aim to add value to the products?  Analyze the sites for what they do not say as much as for what they say: based on Besky and Lyon, what additional questions would you want to ask, as an anthropologist?  Based on your analysis, what are the limits of consumption as a strategy for social and environmental change?


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