Download Economic Anthropology by Chris Hann, Keith Hart PDF

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By Chris Hann, Keith Hart

This booklet is a brand new creation to the heritage and perform of financial anthropology by way of prime authors within the box. They exhibit that anthropologists have contributed to knowing the 3 nice questions of contemporary monetary heritage: improvement, socialism and one-world capitalism.

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It was understood from the beginning that these comm unities were enmeshed in wider systems of power dating back to the Spanish conquest. Like the Chinese peas­ ants studied by Fei, villages in Mexico had complex pol itica l and economic links with towns and ultimately with an entire civilization. Al fred Kroeber, a student of Boas, resolved the puzzle by declaring that they were 'part societies with part cu ltures'. This notion was then taken up by Robert Redfield i n Ch icago a n d gave impetus t o the next generati on of 'peasant studies'.

Rural Mexico provided a conven ient and sti m u l ati ng field for Am erica n a nth ropologi sts who l acked a l a rge overseas em pire replete with tri bes. They paid particular attention to indigenous In d i a n com munities and tended to emphasi ze their conservatism. George Foster ( 1 942 , 1 94 8 ) who studied with both Herskovits and Fi rth pioneered economic a n th ro­ i p ology in M exico with two books on the 'pri m i ti ve' and �folk' tra d ition s . The fi rst offered a soph istica ted treatment 6Vthe socia l and cultural con text for economic decisions, ii tbriceived of as being rati onal i n the terms advocated hy h i s 47 Economic A nthropology mentors.

So where does that leave the rest of us? If Marx and Engels could identi fy the general interest with a growing body of factory workers tied to machines owned by capi talists, most people i n the North Atlantic region now engage with the economy primarily as consumers. Economic agency means first and foremost h a ving purchasing power. Despite the collapse of traditional industries, some argue that unions remain the best hope for organized resistance to big busi ness. National capitalism once reinforced a general belief in society as a place with one fixed point.

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