Re: economic anthropology

Mon, 6 Mar 1995 22:49:52 -0600

Candice Bradley wrote:

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

Could someone please give a brief synopsis of these critiques? Is it more
than observer bias, and the fact that science has a possibly dubious "theory
of proof" to justify their proof? Also, has anyone a reference that deals
specifically with comparison?

I am constantly at odds with a cultural ecologist archaeologist here (not
because I reject science but because I maintain that there is no non-subjective
method of categorizing human social systems) that has finally convinced me
that the cross-cultural comparative method is a legitimate (if not the only
legitimate) means to analyse social systems. Are we just both loony?

Thanks ahead of time,

James Benthall
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Houston
Houston, Texas