This panel for the 2009 American Anthropological Association conference in Philadelphia explores the concept of value by looking at the multiple ways in which people, including anthropologists, have constructed the term. The construction of value takes place explicitly in theory as well as tacitly in everyday language and activity. It is a term whose meaning at once expands and dissolves upon closer inspection, but “value” is never inert. Its force is felt across every domain of social life - from the political and economic, to the aesthetic, the religious, the scientific, the semantic, the moral and the personal - which is why we must continue to pursue its nature and consequence, as well as the dynamics that give rise to it. An adventure is an enterprise with no known outcome or destination: the goal of this panel, rather than seeking conclusions, is also adventurous. We aim to create and explore unsure paths in hopes of finding new vistas on the use, power and role of Value in anthropological analysis. The panel will serve as a place where we point to new ways of engaging with questions such as: What are the relationships between the various forms of value, and how might one form of value be translated into the terms of another? How does value serve as a source of social action? How can value(s) be studied? Are there hegemonic forms of value in different social activities, and how are they produced and maintained? Are there forms of value that are epiphenomenal to others – and if so, what is the nature of these secondary forms? In what ways are the construction of various forms of value fundamental to different cultural activities? How does the notion of intrinsic value operate? How has the intellectual history of value been explicated? If there are gatekeepers of value, who are they and how are they established? How might cultural agents seek to shape or wield the standards of value to their own purposes?
Please send 15-200 word abstracts by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com by March 24th, 2009.
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