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Anthropology and Economy


Part of New Departures in Anthropology

  • Date Published: January 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107577206

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About the Authors
  • Comparative and critical, Anthropology and Economy offers a uniquely cross-cultural view of economy. Using examples from market and non-market situations, the book shows how economies are built on five increasingly abstract spheres, from the house to community, commerce, finance, and meta-finance. Across these spheres, economy incorporates a tension between self-interested rationality and the mutuality of social relationships. Even when rational processes predominate, as in markets, economies rely on sociability and ritual to operate, whether as cronyism, pleas to divinities or the magical persuasions of advertising. Drawing on data and concepts from anthropology and economics, the book addresses wealth inequality, resource depletion, and environmental devastation especially in capitalism, providing an understanding of their persistence and ideas for controlling them. Given the recent financial crash, Gudeman offers a different understanding of the crisis and suggestions for achieving greater economic stability.

    • Explores the cultural construction of economies
    • Addresses the contrast and gap between economics and anthropology
    • Offers constructive changes for market economy, from an anthropological perspective
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '[This book] challenges mainstream economists to consider the home-made models of peasants and tribesmen, the logic of their decision making, and the significance of mutuality, gift-giving and the economics of the house.' Adam Kuper, London School of Economics and Political Science

    'This book confirms Gudeman as the most original critic of mainstream economics since Karl Polanyi, and the outstanding contemporary proponent of anthropological economics.' Chris Hann, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107577206
    • length: 233 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Strange economies
    2. Strength of the house
    3. Mutuality and connections
    4. Rituals of economy
    5. From celebrations to sales
    6. Colonizing
    7. Money and abstraction
    8. Rethinking economy.

  • Author

    Stephen Gudeman, University of Minnesota
    Stephen F. Gudeman is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota.

Author Interview

Stephen Gudeman interviewed by Alan Macfarlane 14th May 2010 Part 1

Author Interview Part 2

Stephen Gudeman interviewed by Alan Macfarlane 14th May 2010 Part 2

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