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ILCAA Joint Research Project

Comparative Ethnographical Study on the Dynamism of Debt (2): Plurality, Conflict and Creativity around Human Economics (jrp000278)



  • debt
  • cultural anthropology
  • human economy
  • gift
  • money
  • hierarchy
  • communism


  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • South Asia
  • Southeast Asia
  • East Asia
  • Oceania Pacific
  • South America


About the Project

Project term: April, 2022–March, 2025

What does debt mean to human beings? This study seeks to answer this question by examining ethnographic cases from world over. During the second period, the concept of “human economies” —emerged. According to David Graeber, these are economies that are “to create, maintain, or sever relations between people rather than to purchase things.” This study explores what pluralistic debt should be to avoid violent quantification and abstraction of the value of human beings and things. It also discusses the conflict between this kind of debt and commercial economic debt to further shade light on the concept of “being indebted to others” in today’s world.

Yutaka SAKUMA, Project Coordinator



  • Yutaka SAKUMA (Meiji University)


  • Yukako YOSHIDA

Joint Researchers

  • Juntaro FUKADA
  • Manami HAYASHI
  • Miki IKOMA
  • Masaharu KAWANO
  • Shuhei KIMURA
  • Junko MARUYAMA
  • Keiichiro MATSUMURA
  • Arihiro MINOO
  • Osamu NAKAGAWA
  • Chikako NAKAYAMA
  • Eri KODA
  • Sayaka OGAWA
  • Aoi OTAKE
  • Toru SAGAWA
  • Takashi SAKAI
  • Ayako SEKINO
  • Yuki SUZUKI
  • Daisuke TERAUCHI
  • Miki YAMADA
  • Matori YAMAMOTO



The 3rd meeting Report (Japanese)

  • Date/Time: Wed 22 Mar 2023 9:00–17:40
  • Venue: 303, Online meeting
  • Language: Japanese
  • 10:00-10:30
    10:30-12:00 Masaharu KAWANO (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Ritsumeikan University)
    “The Multiple Concepts of ”Indebtedness” and their Extensibility in Pohnpei, Micronesia: Recontextualizing Debt in Ethnographic Descriptions of Human Economies”
    13:00-14:30 Chikako NAKAYAMA (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
    The 'State theory of Money' in the context of globalized world: From Knapp to MMT
    14:30-16:00 Manami HAYASHI (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science/ Osaka Metropolitan University)
    The Influence of David Graver's idea toward French Academy and Society: The Political Anthropology and the Social Movement of 'Gilets Jaunes'
    16:10-17:40 All members
    Chair: Yutaka SAKUMA (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Meiji University)

The 2nd meeting Report (Japanese)

  • Date/Time: Sat 24 Sep 2022 13:00–18:30
  • Venue: Online meeting
  • Language: Japanese
  • 13:00–14:30 Yuki FURUKAWA (University of Niigata Prefecture)
    “Consideration and Debt――the Case of Cheese Producers in the village of Northern Andes”
    14:30–16:00 Eri KODA (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Ritsumeikan Univeresity)
    “Transactional sex and Sugar Dating: Case of Young people's Relationships in urban Ghana”
    16:10–17:40 Daisuke TERAUCHI (ILCAA Joint Researcher, University of Tsukuba)
    “Entanglements between conventional exchange modes and market exchange in a swidden society (tentative) ”
    17:40–18:30 All members
    Chair: Yutaka SAKUMA (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Meiji University)

The 1st meeting Report (Japanese)

  • Date/Time: Sat 10 jul 2022 10:00–17:00
  • Venue: 304, Online meeting
  • Language: Japanese
  • 10:00–12:00 Yutaka SAKUMA (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Meiji University)
    13:00–15:00 All Participants
    15:00–17:00 All Participants

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