This panel focuses on consumption practices and explores how interaction, collaboration or challenging action generates or mobilizes perceptions of individual or collective value, and informs an anthropological study of valuation as practice.
Since the early days of anthropological scholarship, anthropologists have recognised that notions of value are entangled in economic, moral, spiritual and social codes. In this workshop we wish to probe the social practices by which people, things and services are accredited, compared, deemed worthy, or judged. Designed commodities, recycled goods, institutional services and artistic performances are not only 'situational entities' (cf. Wengrow 2010, Kopytoff 1986) but are active in generating ongoing notions of individual or collective worth, and mobilising valuation practices. Rather than maintaining a perspective where values are the cause or explanation of social logics, this panel invites papers exploring how value emerges and accretes through collaborative or challenging action. Relevant topics include consumption rationalities (e.g. domesticity and ideas of citizenship and family; vintage clothing or recycled goods and notions of fashion, social participation and environment); corporations (the co-option or consumer co-authorship of brand, corporate presence in everyday life, concerns regarding fair trade or the environment); governmental action (delivery of private or public owned welfare services, political opinion-making) or institutional actors (theatre repertoires, museum exhibitions or for that matter academic knowledge for sale). We welcome papers that explore how everyday interactions evoke, generate or congeal perceptions of 'good things' or worthy practices within specific contexts, ultimately informing an anthropological study of valuation as practice.