Here, Graeber talks to Artforum editor Michelle Kuo about the uses and abuses of social and economic theory in the realm of culture—and the possibilities these disciplinary crossings may still hold for changing how we see and how we relate.
David’s most theoretical and academically challenging work in which he tries to articulate the outlines of an anthropological theory of value.
The book is at once a testament to the academic context and debates in which David studied and a powerful invitation to place creative action at the root of social theory. By defining human beings as intentionally creative and continuously engaged in the project of mutual fashioning, David provides a solid theoretical foundation for analysing any human projects in terms of their materiality and wider social effects. In conversations with Marx and Mauss, he argues that it is the pursuit of value which renders human societies as real and imagined totalities and so the very essence of politics is the struggle to define value.