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Economies and Cultures: Foundations of Economic Anthropology: Introduction to Economic Anthropology [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Richard R. Wilk
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Kurzbeschreibung

Oktober 1996
This text is the first synthesis of modern economic anthropology for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. Tracing the history of the dialogue between anthropology and economics, Wilk moves economic anthropology beyond the narrow concerns of earlier debates and places the field directly at the center of current issues in the social sciences. He focuses on the unique strengths of economic anthropology as a meeting place for symbolic and materialist approaches, and for understanding humanity as both practical and cultural. In doing so, he argues for the wider relevance of economic anthropology to applied anthropology and identifies other avenues for interaction with economics, sociology, and other social and natural sciences. }This text is the first synthesis of modern economic anthropology for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. It goes to the heart of an emerging subdiscipline and identifies the fundamental practical and theoretical problems that give economic anthropology its unique strengths and vision. Tracing the history of the dialogue between anthropology and economics, Richard Wilk identifies three recurring arguments about human nature and the moral basis of human action. Modern economic anthropology, he says, emerges from the controversies and tensions between these radically different propositions about the essence of humanity. More than any other anthropological subdiscipline, economic anthropology constantly questions and debates the practical motives of people as they go about their daily lives.Wilk moves economic anthropology beyond the narrow concerns of earlier debates and places the field directly at the center of current issues in the social sciences. He focuses on the unique strengths of economic anthropology as a meeting place for symbolic and materialist approaches, and for understanding humanity as both practical and cultural. In doing so, he argues for the wider relevance of economic anthropology to applied anthropology and identifies other avenues for interaction with economics, sociology, and other social and natural sciences. This short text is designed to be used with monographs or collections as a core reading for economic anthropology courses. It will complement other texts in general sociocultural anthropology courses and in graduate core courses, and it will be a useful supplement in teaching ecological and applied anthropology. }

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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 8 Seiten
  • Verlag: Westview Press Inc (Oktober 1996)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0813320585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813320588
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 23,5 x 15,7 x 1,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.107.642 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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"Thorough, thoughtful, accessible, original ... An excellent introduction to the field of economic anthropology for those who are not familiar with it; an equally excellent review for those who are." -Benjamin Orlove, University of California, Davis -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

Synopsis

This text is the first synthesis of modern economic anthropology for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. Tracing the history of the dialogue between anthropology and economics, Wilk moves economic anthropology beyond the narrow concerns of earlier debates and places the field directly at the center of current issues in the social sciences. He focuses on the unique strengths of economic anthropology as a meeting place for symbolic and materialist approaches, and for understanding humanity as both practical and cultural. In doing so, he argues for the wider relevance of economic anthropology to applied anthropology and identifies other avenues for interaction with economics, sociology, and other social and natural sciences. }This text is the first synthesis of modern economic anthropology for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. It goes to the heart of an emerging subdiscipline and identifies the fundamental practical and theoretical problems that give economic anthropology its unique strengths and vision.

Tracing the history of the dialogue between anthropology and economics, Richard Wilk identifies three recurring arguments about human nature and the moral basis of human action. Modern economic anthropology, he says, emerges from the controversies and tensions between these radically different propositions about the essence of humanity. More than any other anthropological subdiscipline, economic anthropology constantly questions and debates the practical motives of people as they go about their daily lives.Wilk moves economic anthropology beyond the narrow concerns of earlier debates and places the field directly at the center of current issues in the social sciences. He focuses on the unique strengths of economic anthropology as a meeting place for symbolic and materialist approaches, and for understanding humanity as both practical and cultural. In doing so, he argues for the wider relevance of economic anthropology to applied anthropology and identifies other avenues for interaction with economics, sociology, and other social and natural sciences. This short text is designed to be used with monographs or collections as a core reading for economic anthropology courses.

It will complement other texts in general sociocultural anthropology courses and in graduate core courses, and it will be a useful supplement in teaching ecological and applied anthropology. }


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Format:Taschenbuch
Autor Wilk schreibt in seinem Vorwort, dass sein Buch für "advanced undergraduates" geschrieben sei. In Deutschland entspricht das, aus studentischer Sicht, etwa dem Beginn der Vertiefungsphase nach dem Vordiplom oder der Zwischenprüfung. So sind bestimmte Grundkenntnisse der Ethnologie hilfreich, aber nicht unbedingt notwendig, um sein Buch voll zu verstehen. Wilks "Economies and Cultures" baut sehr stark auf drei verschiedenen Theoriegebilden auf, wobei der Autor im abschließenden Kapitel eine anwendungsbezogene Synthese versucht. Einerseits kann man wegen dem sehr theoretischen Hauptteil eventuell eine "Überkategoriesierung" der verschiedenen Forschungsrichtungen der Ethnologie befürchten. Ich finde jedoch, dass die Vorstellung alternativer Theoriemodell sehr hilfreich ist, um die verschiedenen Strömungen innerhalb der Anthropologie zu verstehen. Anschaulich erklärt Wilk an Hand einiger Hauptvertreter der jeweiligen Richtungen verschiedenen Menschenbilder und ihre Auswirkung auf die Wissenschaft. Dies ist insbesondere sinnvoll, um Einiges an Grundwissen über Ethnologie im allgemeinen zu wiederholen bzw. zu erwerben. Ich bin selber kein Ethnologiestudent im Hauptfach. Deshalb meine ich beurteilen zu können, dass Wilks Buch auch für eine breite Öffnetlichkeit sehr interessant zu lesen ist. Insbesondere die klare Gliederung des Buches ist dabei hilfreich. Ich kann dieses Buch weiter empfehlen.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen The critical breadth of Harris, the bad faith of Popper 19. Mai 2004
Von William A. Brown - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Wilk begins his theoretical survey of economic anthropology with a review of the debate that spurred the birth of the field: the debate between the "substantivists" and the "formalists" during the 1950's, '60's, and early '70's. Wilk contends that, while some of the points made by both factions are valuable and deserve revisiting, each camp in effect argued past the other because of their shared mistaken belief that their respective viewpoints represented conceptually integrated, mutually exclusive wholes. The argument eventually sputtered out rather than came to a definitive conclusion, Wilk says, because this fundamental mistake fed into a series of ever-more-intractably convoluted polemics, but also because other issues (for example the emergence of applied anthropology) caused economic anthropologists to shift their interests toward other pursuits.
Wilk then divides the body of economic anthropological literature into three groups according to three major outlooks on human motivation. Unlike the case of the substantivists and the formalists, he maintains, these three are conceptually integrated and mutually exclusive: 1) humans are motivated by self-interest; 2) humans are motivated by an intrinsic sociability; or 3) humans are motivated by deeply ingrained, culturally instilled morals or values. Yet, somewhat paradoxically, Wilk also suggests that each school of thought may share some themes or dimensions in common with the others, and he discusses the work of two anthropologists who have employed all three models in hybridized or eclectic fashion.
The dominant undercurrent of Wilk's survey is a deep dissatisfaction with the fractured state of economic anthropological scholarship. The field remains fractured along these party lines, he says, because each takes certain fundamental propositions about human nature on faith rather than testing them. One consequence appears to be that each perspective seems to work out well enough only some of the time, there being copious counterexamples for each (not to mention those cases which might be just as well explained by one perspective as by another). The conflicted and fractured academy will remain so, he says, so long as each perspective's core concepts are held in such high, unimpeachable esteem.
I agree with Wilk that many of these allegedly self-evident and ergo unimpeachable presuppositions are in fact quite easily felled by well-known ethnographic data. I also agree that most or all explanation should rely on empirical testing. But I believe that Wilk goes to far in reviving the bad faith of the 19th and 20th century positivists (I find Karl Popper's expression to be the most articulate and historically informed of the positivists . . . a fact which also makes him the most articulate advocate of positivist bad faith, as pointed out by Thomas Kuhn): like the positivists, Wilk seems to insist that the epistemological veracity of every single proposition that we make about anything must lie in our ability to successfully hold it up against empirical testing, yet also like the positivists, he fails to recognize that this relentless policy of testing the hell out of every possible statement must also undercut our very ability to test because it must also bring under inspection any and every conceivable descriptive lexicon we use to formulate our empirical observations (whether linguistic or graphic).
Put differently, there can be no proposition rooted in empirical observation if there are not also propositions whose veracity has nothing to do with empirical observation; the descriptive lexicon or apparatus must remain a prerequisite of empirical observation, testing, and scientific explanation, not the subject of its inquiry. And from an epistemological standpoint, admitting that every empirical investigation begs certain conceptual associations is a far better option than being incapable of even formulating a simple descriptive proposition, or capable only of semantically unstable, eclectic corpus of statements; we must be comfortable with the fact that conceptual implications are an inescapable, incontrovertible side-effect of every descriptive apparatus, that we can derive an awful lot from even the simplest descriptive statement without ever having to qualify ourselves empirically.
The real problem of science, then, is striking a balance between maintaining a descriptive lexicon and choosing one which is immune from empirical falsification.
Unfortunately, though, Wilk acts in positivist bad faith. His "social-temporal" grid, ostensibly conceived to sidestep the dogmatic behavior of the factions he spends most of his book critiqueing, lands him in the same basic sort of activity. He also makes other dogmatic statements about human motivation while discussing the grid: "People want their acts to be ambiguous and hard to pin down; they may want to conceal their motives even from themselves." (150) But doesn't "want" fall into the same basic semantic domain as "motivation"? In the end, Wilk's descriptive apparatus turns out to be as endowed with conceptual baggage as do any of the schools he critiques, the main difference being that he is blind to his own presuppositions.
I don't mean to ride Wilk too roughly on this point. There are many excellent dimensions to the book, central among them being his contention that most of the major arguments in economic anthropology center around the issue of human motivation. Also, while the book is not a textbook in the conventional sense, it will immerse the reader in a survey of anthropological history comparable to Marvin Harris' "The Rise of Anthropology," both in terms of its breadth and its critical depth (though nowhere near as voluminous). I must also confess that I find Wilk's social-temporal grid to be more capable of doing what it is intended to do -- describe -- than any apparatus conceived by any of the other major schools of thought, exactly because it covers the broad variation of human motivations presumed not to exist by those other, more exclusive schools of thought. Yet I cannot keep with Wilk's epistemological bad faith; unlike Wilk, I am quite conscious of the presuppositional nature his descriptive grid, and as a pragmatist I am willing to accept the implications of whatever it might imply.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Underpinnings of economic anthropology 8. November 2000
Von Peter Gray - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
This book provides a nice discussion of the philosophical and historical underpinnings of economic anthropology. It shows how three perspectives have predominated in economic anthropology: whether people are selfish, moral or self-interested. The book traces the trajectories of each of these stances back in time, making interesting connections. The result is a work that makes one think hard about assumptions and limitations. Less attention is given to detailed discussion of formal economic models. The writing style is accessible, the voice active and the touches of humor (e.g. the drawing that depicts "academic strife") refreshing. This book might deserve a spot next to a favored ethnography or economics textbook on your shelf.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen One of the few good overviews on economic anthropology 25. Februar 2004
Von Karl F. Rambo - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
I found this book very useful. Anthropologists' approach to economic topics is clearly stated and contrasted with formal economics approaches (or at least stereotypic economics approaches). I did find it weird that little mention is made in the book of Marcel Mauss, author of _The Gift_ and the super-granddaddy of economic anthropology.

2009 note: the original comment was written before the second edition. In the newer edition, Wilk and Cliggett add a nice section on gift exchange (an important topic in anthropology and a good addition to this book)
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent introduction to economic anthropology 2. Februar 2010
Von Clare A. Sammells - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Wilk and Cliggett have written an excellent introduction to the subdiscipline of economic anthropology. By providing historical context for the debates that have framed the field, they highlight (rather than obscure) how such data has been produced and deployed. I assign this book for my Economic Anthropology class and have found it excellent for class use, although I think it could easily be read outside of a classroom context for an overview of the field.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Eye Opening 11. März 2009
Von Edward J. Hahn - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
An excellent primer on the connection between Anthropology and Economics. I have long since passed it on to my socially aware but economically ignorant friends.
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