Rachel Smith: "‘Eating Money’: Consumption, Waste, and Moral Distinction in Vanuatu"

The Departmental Seminar Series features Rachel Smith,  Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen.

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This seminar will be a hybrid event where the presenter will be presenting in person and the talk will be streamed via zoom. Those who want to attend physically are more than welcome to join us in the meeting room on the ground floor at Gullhaug torg 1.

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Consumption is envisioned in economics as the satisfaction of wants through the using up of utilities, an activity paradigmatically modelled on ‘eating’. But a pervasive moral critique of people who ‘eat money’ can be found across different ethnographic settings.

In Vanuatu, ‘eating money’ is a criticism levelled at those who appear to be spending moneyon selfish or short-term goals. But, while in the past, giving in ritual may have been the most valued end for directing wealth, increasingly the ‘eating’ critique is being used to support the acquisition of modern houses and other durable goods. 

Published Aug. 17, 2022 11:08 AM - Last modified Aug. 17, 2022 11:15 AM