Re: economic anthropology

Marc W.D. Tyrrell (mwtyrrel@CCS.CARLETON.CA)
Fri, 3 Mar 1995 13:56:43 GMT

Candice Bradley (Candice.Bradley@LAWRENCE.EDU) wrote:
> ....
> tends to universalize. On the other hand, there is very little
> "pure" economic anthropology any more, and a lot more political
> economy, with its emphasis on power relationships and inequality.
> Traditional Marxist analysis has fallen by the wayside.

> Given these changes, there are a series of questions we can ask.

> 1) Can one be a postmodern economic anthropologist? And if so,
> how? If not, why not?

Why be a "postmodern economic anthropologist"? One can still integrate
the critique presented by postmodernism, it is afterall several
thousand years old, and still concern oneself with the realm of
socio-cultural action which fits under the term "economic".

> 2) How can we talk across ethnographic examples using economic
> models, given contemporary postmodern critiques of comparison?

Because, while postmodern critiques may have some validity, they are
not an "absolute" truth. I would suggest that Marcel Mauss managed to
do this in The Gift quite well <grin>.

> 3) Are all contemporary economic anthropologists really
> political-economic anthropologists?

No. Why should they be? Political economy as a tradition tends to
operate primarily at the macro level (cf Harrold Innis, John Porter,
Wallace Clement, etc.). There is no reason to assume that micro level
economic anthropology must operate in a political economy paradigm.

> 4) Who are some examples of people doing economic anthropology
> in a new way?

I suspect that this question will answer itself, to some degree, after
the SEA meeting in Santa Fe <grin>.

> 5) What is the future of economic anthropology?

Doesn't that depend on where we take it? On a purely personal level, I
would like to see a strand develope that is more micro level, and
concentrates on economic activity in the production of cultural
"meaning" systems.

> These are just some of the issues that interested us. We would
> like to see other anthropologists respond to and add to this
> conversation.

> Candice Bradley & Lynn Sikkink
> Department of Anthropology
> Lawrence University
> Appleton, Wisconsin

Sounds like it could be a good discussion <grin>.

Marc T

*** Restructure Reality... you never know what you will find! -) ***
Carleton University

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