Kinds of Value
An Experiment in Modal Anthropology
In this slim volume, anthropologist Paul Kockelman showcases, reworks, and extends some of the core resources anthropologists and like-minded scholars have developed for thinking about value. Rather than theorize value head on, he offers a careful interpretation of a Mayan text about an offering to a god that lamentably goes awry. Kockelman analyzes the text, its telling, and the conditions of possibility for its original publication. Starting with a relatively simple definition of value—that which stands at the intersection of what signs stand for and what agents strive for—he unfolds, explicates, and experiments with its variations. Contrary to widespread claims in and around the discipline, Kockelman argues that it is not so-called relations, but rather relations between relations, that are at the heart of the interpretive endeavor.