Anthropology and Value

S. Steinert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

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Anthropological theories of value highlight the cultural processes responsible for value creation, re-creation, and transmission. This chapter provides an overview of the most crucial value theories in anthropology. First, It introduces early anthropological accounts of value, like Kluckhohn’s and Strodtbeck’s theory of value orientations, which was an attempt to provide a tool for cross-cultural comparison. The chapter also outlines the structuralist approach to value, specifically Dumont’s influential account, where values are part of a hierarchical meaning system. The chapter then introduces so-called action-oriented approaches to value (Munn, Turner, Graeber). Action-oriented accounts focus on how humans actively create and reproduce values in a cultural system of meaning into which value actions are embedded. Finally, the chapter also briefly considers anthropological ideas about value change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterdisciplinary Value Theory
PublisherPalgrave MacMillan Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-10733-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-10732-0
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Anthropology
  • Value
  • Culture
  • Value theory
  • Structuralism


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