New Directions in Economic Anthropology

New Directions in Economic Anthropology

Susana Narotzky
Copyright Date: 1997
Published by: Pluto Press
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    New Directions in Economic Anthropology
    Book Description:

    ‘Narotzky is particularly compelling in her discussion of the relation between the counted and unaccounted as it enters practices and ideology in the informal economy, family business and home life' Anthropology Today (RAI) Using an historical perspective, Narotzky highlights the interdependent nature of the contemporary world economy, and includes case studies of Western societies. She gives special emphasis to current issues such as the anthropology of work, the informal economy, and the cultures of industrialisation.

    eISBN: 978-1-78371-883-2
    Subjects: Anthropology, Economics
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (pp. ix-x)

    First, a word of caution. This is not a book on the History of Economic Anthropology. It is not an exhaustive presentation of the theoretical perspectives that have been associated with the ‘economic’ field of study within the academic discipline of Anthropology (for a view on these see Ortiz 1983; Clammer 1985, 1987; Kahn and Llobera 1981, Moniot 1976, Rosebeny 1988). Most theoretical perspectives will be clarified along the route, however.

    This book intends to be a journey. It wants to bring closer to a wider public the main concepts, debates and questions that have been relevant to the understanding...

  5. 1 PRODUCTION (pp. 8-41)

    This chapter will begin by presenting what is often thought of as the most inescapably material and objective part of the production process: the environment. The argument will develop eventually into a critique of the naive ahistorical notions of a ‘given’ natural environment. I will support instead the perspective that the environment isalwaysthe product of social historical processes. A similar critique will be presented for ‘technology’, the very material mediation between humans and their environment. The last two sections of the chapter will focus on social relations that effect differentiation around ‘production’. Here also I will try to...


    This chapter explores a region of the ‘economy’ which, like ‘production’ has generally been very rigidly defined within tight limits. The purpose of this chapter, then, is to unravel the concepts of ‘distribution’ and ‘exchange’ in order to open them to the wider field of forces of social reproduction. The approach will attempt a critique of concepts such as ‘reciprocity’, the ‘market’, ‘money’, ‘value’, ‘embeddedness’, etc. This will help to clarify the general use of such terms in anthropological literature. At the same time I will try to show that economic processes should necessarily be conceived as part of a...

  7. 3 CONSUMPTION (pp. 99-157)

    The principal focus of this chapter is the process of consumption. It contributes a basic argument to the central thesis of the book on the need to adopt a framework that takes into consideration social reproduction as a whole when trying to explain material, life-sustaining processes.

    I will begin by working on a definition of ‘consumption’ that adequately covers different aspects of a complex process. The next section will present a thorough analysis of the domestic group, which is probably the most ubiquitous social framework of consumption. In this section, Chayanov’s theory of the ‘labour–consumer balance’ which has had...

  8. 4 SOCIAL REPRODUCTION (pp. 158-189)

    The argument which began with the need to break down bounded regions of economic discourse has led to this chapter on social reproduction. Here I will present in the first place some feminist and Marxist approaches that can be seen as the prelude to the perspective I want to propose: a theoretical framework of social reproduction. In the second section I develop this social reproduction framework, trying to show that the articulation of material and ideological realities is part of a materialist tradition focusing on ‘experience’. The chapter ends with the example of Catalan nationalism, in an attempt to show...


    The example of Catalan nationalism brings us to the conclusion of the journey with a clear position stating that social relations of production should be analysed both in their material and cultural aspects within the integrative framework of social reproduction. I have tried to show how material relations are interlocked with local cultural contexts within a framework of wide-ranging capitalist forces but also of global hegemonic cultures such as Christianity, while stating the need for an even wider agenda of research.

    There is, however, one more area to explore which is important because it exposes serious methodological flaws in recent...

  10. REFERENCES (pp. 224-241)
  11. Index (pp. 242-254)


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