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Concepts and Objects in Economic Anthropology

  • John Clammer

Abstract

In his Malinowski Memorial Lecture of 1971 Edwin Ardener claimed to have discovered or identified a break, a major discontinuity, between the concerns and methods of the pre-structuralist anthropologies and those of the structuralist and post-structuralist ones which have succeeded it, of such a magnitude as to justify the calling of the latter not a mere new trend, but an entire revision of the conceptual basis of the subject. As he says,

I mean by ‘new’ that something has already happened to British social anthropology (and to international anthropology in related ways) such that for practical purposes text-books which looked useful, no longer are; monographs which used to appear exhaustive now seem selective; interpretations which once looked full of insight now seem mechanical and lifeless.1

Ardener traces the disjuncture between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ anthro-pologies (I use the plural form deliberately) to the connections that the ‘new’ have with structuralism, regardless of whether the ‘new’ schools are necessarily structuralist in themselves or not. The conceptual gulf between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ is held to be complete: ‘The field of social anthropology is totally restructured.’2

Keywords

Social Anthropology Plural Form Economic Formation Class Relationship Primitive Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    E. Ardener, ‘The New Anthropology and Its Critics’, Man, 6, 3 (1971) p. 449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 3.
    M. J. Herskovits, Economic Anthropology (New York, 1952 ).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    R. Firth (ed.), Themes in Economic Anthropology, A.S.A. Monograph No. 6 ( London: Tavistock Publications, 1967 ).Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    M. Sahlins, ‘On the Sociology of Primitive Exchange’, in M. Banton (ed.), The Relevance of Models for Social Anthropology, A.S.A. Monograph No. 1 (London, 1965 ) p. 139.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    F. Barth (ed.), The Role of the Entrepreneur in Social Change in Northern Norway (Bergen and Oslo, 1963 ).Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    K. Polanyi, The Origin of Our Time: The Great Transformation (London, 1946 )Google Scholar
  7. K. Polanyi, C. W. Arensberg and H. W. Pearson, Trade and Market in the Early Empires ( Glencoe, Ill., 1957 ).Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    M. Sahlins, ‘Political Power and the Economy in Primitive Society’, in G. E. Dole and R. L. Carneiro, Essays in the Science of Culture (New York, 1960 ) pp. 390–415.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    See T. Asad (ed.), Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter (London, 1973 ).Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    See especially L. Althusser and E. Balibar, Reading Capital (London, 1970 ).Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    J. R. Clammer, ‘Economic Anthropology and the Sociology of Development: ‘Liberal’ Anthropology and its French critics’, in I. Oxaal, T. Barnett, D. Booth (eds), Beyond the Sociology of Development (London, 1975 ).Google Scholar
  12. 26.
    M. Godelier, Rationality and Irrationality in Economics (London, 1972) p. 275.Google Scholar
  13. 38.
    Talai Asad, ‘The Concept of Rationality in Economic Anthropology’, Economy and Society, Vol. 3, No. 2 (1974) p. 213.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Clammer 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Clammer

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