Igor Kopytoff is a professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. His interests include social and political organization, and his research has been focused in Africa and northern Asia. Kopytoff’s article “The cultural biography of things: Commoditization as process” discusses the “moral economy that stands behind the objective economy of visible transactions” (1986:64). Examination of an object’s biography reveals the how economic and social value varies through time and as it travels through different spheres of exchange.
(1986) “The cultural biography of things: Commoditization as process.” In The Social Life of Things. A. Appadurai, ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 64-94