This book is a new introduction to the history and practice of economic anthropology by two leading authors in the field. They show that anthropologists have contributed to understanding the three great questions of modern economic history: development, socialism and one-world capitalism. In doing so, they connect economic anthropology to its roots in Western philosophy, social theory and world history. Up to the Second World War anthropologists tried and failed to interest economists in their exotic findings. They then launched a vigorous debate over whether an approach taken from economics was appropriate to the study of non-industrial economies. Since the 1970s, they have developed a critique of capitalism based on studying it at home as well as abroad. The authors aim to rejuvenate economic anthropology as a humanistic project at a time when the global financial crisis has undermined confidence in free market economics. They argue for the continued relevance of predecessors such as Marcel Mauss and Karl Polanyi, while offering an incisive review of recent work in this field. Economic Anthropology is an excellent introduction for social science students at all levels, and it presents general readers with a challenging perspective on the world economy today. Selected by Choice as a 2013 Outstanding Academic Title
'This excellent overview would serve as an excellent text for advanced undergraduate and graduate-level classroom use. . . Because of the clarity, conciseness, and accessibility of the writing, the chapters in this volume likely will be often cited and recommended to those who want the alternative and frequently culturally comparative perspective on economic topics that anthropology provides. Highly recommended. All academic levels/libraries.' - K.F. Rambo, Choice for more than a century, anthropologists have studied the economic lives and institutions of people around the world. the results of their research and reflection on economy have generally stayed within the discipline and have not been available in an accessible form to a broader readership. This major reference book is intended to correct this.
The main focus of the volume - the processes of choice and decision-making in different economic systems - offers exceptional scope for the convergence of economic and anthropological perspectives. It concentrates on transactions that both express and influence social relationships and values. Covering a wide geographic area there are specific studies on societies in Equatorial Africa, Colombia, South India and the Balkans. First published in 1967.
Acclaim for the first edition: 'The volume is a remarkable contribution to economic anthropology and will no doubt be a fundamental tool for students, scholars, and experts in the sub-discipline.' – Mao Mollona, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 'This excellent overview would serve as an excellent text for advanced undergraduate and graduate-level classroom use. . . Because of the clarity, conciseness, and accessibility of the writing, the chapters in this volume likely will be often cited and recommended to those who want the alternative and frequently culturally comparative perspective on economic topics that anthropology provides. Highly recommended. All academic levels/libraries.' – K.F. Rambo, Choice The first edition of this unique Handbook was praised for its substantial and invaluable summary discussions of work by anthropologists on economic processes and issues, on the relationship between economic and non-economic areas of life and on the conceptual orientations that are important among economic anthropologists. This thoroughly revised edition brings those discussions up to date, and includes an important new section exploring ways that leading anthropologists have approached the current economic crisis. Its scope and accessibility make it useful both to those who are interested in a particular topic and to those who want to see the breadth and fruitfulness of an anthropological study of economy. This comprehensive Handbook will strongly appeal to undergraduate and post-graduate students in anthropology, economists interested in social and cultural dimensions of economic life, and alternative approaches to economic life, political economists, political scientists and historians.
This new volume from the Society for Economic Anthropology examines the unique contributions of anthropologists to general economic theory. The authors challenge our understanding of human economies in the expanding global systems of interaction, with models and analyses from cross-cultural research. The book will be a valuable resource for anthropologists, economists, economic historians, political economists, and economic development specialists.
This synthesis of modern economic anthropology goes to the heart of a thriving subdiscipline and identifies the fundamental practical and theoretical problems that give economic anthropology its unique strengths and vision. More than any other anthropological subdiscipline, economic anthropology constantly questions and debates the practical motives of people as they go about their daily lives. Tracing the history of the dialogue between anthropology and economics, the authors move economic anthropology beyond the narrow concerns of earlier debates and place the field directly at the centre of current issues in the social sciences. They focus on the unique strengths of economic anthropology as a meeting place for symbolic and materialist approaches and for understanding human beings as both practical and cultural. In so doing, the authors argue for the wider relevance of economic anthropology to applied anthropology and identify other avenues for interaction with economics, sociology, and other social and behavioural sciences. The second edition of Economies and Cultures contains an entirely new chapter on gifts and exchange that critically approaches the new literature in this area, as well as a thoroughly updated bibliography and guide for students for finding case studies in economic anthropology.
Economic anthropologists carry out research in all parts of the globe, producing ethnographic studies, cross-cultural comparisons and theoretical works. They explore how growing markets, new technologies and expanding capital affect marginalised people or the control of wealth between genders. the empirical studies of economic anthropologists are based on participation and observation and provide an information bank for testing formal theories. Their findings often challenge prevailing concepts of modern economics, because much of their collected information falls outside accepted paradigms or schemes.