Johann P. Arnason is Emeritus Professor of Sociology, La Trobe University in Melbourne. Australia and Associate of the Department of Historical Sociology in the Faculty of Human Studies at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. He is the author of Civilizations in Dispute: Historical Questions and Theoretical Traditions and editor of many books, including (with Marek Hrubec) Social Transformations and Revolutions: Reflections and Analyses. Chris Hann is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. He is the coauthor (with Keith Hart) of Economic Anthropology: History, Ethnography, Critique and the coeditor (with Stephen Gudeman) of Economy and Ritual: Studies of Postsocialist Transformations.
Up to the Second World War anthropologists tried and failed to interest economists in their exotic findings. They then launched a vigorous debate over whether an approach taken from economics was appropriate to the study of non-industrial economies. Since the 1970s, they have developed a critique of capitalism based on studying it at home as well as abroad.
The authors aim to rejuvenate economic anthropology as a humanistic project at a time when the global financial crisis has undermined confidence in free market economics. They argue for the continued relevance of predecessors such as Marcel Mauss and Karl Polanyi, while offering an incisive review of recent work in this field.
Economic Anthropology is an excellent introduction for social science students at all levels, and it presents general readers with a challenging perspective on the world economy today.
Selected by Choice as a 2013 Outstanding Academic Title