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Economic Life in the Real World
Logic, Emotion and Ethics

$30.99 (P)

Part of New Departures in Anthropology

  • Date Published: February 2020
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108716550

$ 30.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • This clearly written and engaging book brings together anthropology, psychology and economics to show how these three human science disciplines address fundamental questions related to the psychology of economic life in human societies - questions that matter for people from every society and every background. Based around vivid examples drawn from field research in China and Taiwan, the author encourages anthropologists to take the psychological dimensions of economic life more seriously, but also invites psychologists and economists to pay much more attention than they currently do to cultural and historical variables. In the end, this intrinsically radical book challenges us to step away from disciplinary assumptions and to reflect more deeply on what really matters to us in our collective social and economic life.

    • Uses clear and vivid real-world examples from fieldwork to show how anthropological, psychological and economic approaches can be integrated
    • Allows non-specialist readers to grasp both differences and areas of overlap between these three disciplinary approaches
    • Provides an opportunity for readers to reflect on their own experience of economic life and of social life more generally - but from some new perspectives
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Exploring new horizons in the moral psychology of economic life, Charles Stafford’s novel book is bound to inspire social scientists as well as the concerned public in multiple ways.' Yunxiang Yan, University of California

    ‘The ambitious aim of this short book is to construct a robust framework for analyzing economic practices. Toward that end, Stafford brings together insights developed in the fields of anthropology, economics, and psychology. With examples drawn from long-term fieldwork in rural Taiwan and China, he uses clear, jargon-free prose to sketch a view of ‘the economy not only as a domain of logical deliberation but also as one of emotions - and certainly as one of ethics’ (p. xii).’ Ethnos (Journal of Anthropology)

    ‘This intriguing book focuses on the ‘moral aspects of economic Agency’ (ix) and seeks to ‘bring anthropology, psychology and economics into some kind of conversation’ (115) … Writing mostly to colleagues in the guild, Charles Stafford draws from diverse sources of inspiration and grounds his argument in a series of case studies from different parts of rural China and Taiwan, his long-standing field sites … Overall the book is a delight. Readers with even slightly open minds may be convinced, and the seriousness with which Stafford considers the arguments of his opponents, allies, and interlocutors is a model for us all.’ American Ethnologist

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108716550
    • length: 208 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.32kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Decisions
    3. Substantivist economic psychology
    4. Plans
    5. Self-education as the end of economic life
    6. The politics of cognition
    7. Number and structure

  • Author

    Charles Stafford, London School of Economics and Political Science
    Charles Stafford is Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Fellow of the British Academy. His previous books include The Roads of Chinese Childhood (1995) and Separation and Reunion in Modern China (2000).

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