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Economic Anthropology Paperback – 18 Feb 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Polity; 1 edition (18 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074564483X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745644837
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 333,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"This is a ′big book′, tackling big questions in deceptively simple prose."
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"
Both authors draw on their considerable ethnographic experience to offer a rich run–through of economic anthropology, and trace its intersection between the primary disciplines of economics and anthropology and against thematic currents such as Marxism and feminism."
LSE Review of Books

"Educational and intellectually stimulating, it will benefit both economic sociologists and economists."
Revue Française de Socio–économie

"Offers a methodological and analytic platform which could make this field more relevant for policy making, create a more fruitful dialogue with economics, economic sociology and history, and make scholarly work more accessible to the wider public."
European Economic Sociology Newsletter

"Hann and Hart offer the most sophisticated history of economic anthropology that I have seen. Using a humanistic perspective, their descriptions of the ′prehistory′ of economic anthropology and of the socialist and postsocialist eras are neatly joined to an account of research in the twentieth century."
Stephen Gudeman, University of Minnesota

"Now that neoliberal economic theories are becoming as discredited as state–socialist ones, Chris Hann and Keith Hart set out the case for ′human economics′ focused on addressing both the moral and material needs of humanity – market as well as non–market. This is a brilliantly executed work which breathes new list into both disciplines – Anthropology and Economics. At a time when national and global economic thinking and policies seem moribund, this intervention could not be timlier."
Don Robotham, City University of New York
 

From the Back Cover

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.


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Krul on 20 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Economic Anthropology" by Hann & Hart seeks to introduce the subject of anthropological analysis of modern and historical economic themes in a simple and straightforward way. Clearly aimed at readers unfamiliar with the subject entirely, it provides a cursory, if systematic historical overview of the different schools in the field and their historical relationship to each other. The authors discuss the origins of the concept of the economy, the views of Marx and Polanyi, the formalist-substantivist debate, the turns to culture and anthropology of the West and the feminist critique, and so forth. There is also room for a brief discussion of economic anthropology's relationship to development economics and to economic theory more generally, especially of the socialist kind.

It is not easy to summarize such a potentially massive topic as the overlap between anthropology and similar social science approaches and historical theories of the economy, and the authors are to be lauded for their clear and concise treatment of the topic. However, the book is marred by a number of greater and lesser flaws, which make it fail to live up to its potential. In general, "Economic Anthropology" is often too cursory an overview, and the treatment even of major authors ends up giving them short shrift in terms of their significance, which would make it difficult for a complete newcomer to judge the relevance or irrelevance of historical theories for current practice. Secondly, the work is mired in an annoyingly superficial liberal outlook: the authors go out of their way to defend the significance of 'the market' and 'money' throughout all societies, and their treatment of socialist economies is quite inept.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By alana on 10 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
So far so good. A pretty helpful reference and introduction to the topic, especially if anthropology is your thing and economics is something youve never really studied. I suppose it would also be a great read if that was the other way round too.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An introduction to economic anthropology 20 Feb. 2012
By M. A. Krul - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Economic Anthropology" by Hann & Hart seeks to introduce the subject of anthropological analysis of modern and historical economic themes in a simple and straightforward way. Clearly aimed at readers unfamiliar with the subject entirely, it provides a cursory, if systematic historical overview of the different schools in the field and their historical relationship to each other. The authors discuss the origins of the concept of the economy, the views of Marx and Polanyi, the formalist-substantivist debate, the turns to culture and anthropology of the West and the feminist critique, and so forth. There is also room for a brief discussion of economic anthropology's relationship to development economics and to economic theory more generally, especially of the socialist kind.

It is not easy to summarize such a potentially massive topic as the overlap between anthropology and similar social science approaches and historical theories of the economy, and the authors are to be lauded for their clear and concise treatment of the topic. However, the book is marred by a number of greater and lesser flaws, which make it fail to live up to its potential. In general, "Economic Anthropology" is often too cursory an overview, and the treatment even of major authors ends up giving them short shrift in terms of their significance, which would make it difficult for a complete newcomer to judge the relevance or irrelevance of historical theories for current practice. Secondly, the work is mired in an annoyingly superficial liberal outlook: the authors go out of their way to defend the significance of 'the market' and 'money' throughout all societies, and their treatment of socialist economies is quite inept. It is in particular bizarre to see in a book of this kind a highly flawed and superficial defense of the current Chinese state-led economy as the way forward between the poles of too much market and too much state, itself a fairly obsolete dichotomy - whatever modern China is, it certainly isn't a revival of the "human economy", as the authors' rosy view suggests. The authors' obsession with the internet as a new all-changing paradigm for politics is also disappointing. Finally, the book's judgements occasionally lead it to make outright absurd claims: Janos Kornai was not a "market fundamentalist" (128); Marx did not "restrict the definition of capital to its form as money" (144), nor did he argue that "wage slavery under capitalism was fundamentally similar to feudal serfdom". One can also not refute rational choice theories by using evidence of emotions through brain scanners(!) (93).

That said the book also has some clear positive points that stand out, apart from its easy and concise overview. The authors include some good discussions of the practical shortcomings of formalist approaches in economic anthropology, and their continual emphasis on the importance of constructing a more universalizing theory, capable of joining up with the other social sciences, rather than sticking to localized fieldwork and thick cultural descriptions is highly welcome. As Hann & Hart point out, the very existence of an economic anthropology has at times come into question because of excessive particularism or formalist problematics; it is now time for it to join a better economic history than the new institutional kind and a better economics than the neoclassical kind in a new project for the historical social sciences.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Five Stars 15 Feb. 2015
By Cristanna M. Cook - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good information on how western thinking may not fit into emerging economies.
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