Anthropology and Economic Imperialism: The Battlefield of Culture
Nottingham University Business School (NUBS)
NUBS Industrial Economics Division Working Paper
The concept of culture has traditionally been the exclusive domain of anthropologists. However, economists have annexed this concept, applying it widely in their studies of both macro- and micro-level economic phenomena. This is viewed by some intellectual camps within anthropology as an encroachment into their territory and they are doing battle to keep the economic 'imperialists' out. This paper surveys the issues underlying the hostility between economics and anthropology. First, it looks at their common historical origins. Then, it examines their current differences in terms of objective, epistemology and methodology, as well as the events that gave rise to these. Next, it discusses how economists use the concept of culture in their work and anthropologists' opposition to such usage. Finally, it concludes by considering how both disciplines can be further enriched by closer collaboration between them.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 33
Keywords: Culture, anthropology, imperialism, epistemology, methodology
JEL Classification: A12, B12, B40, N01working papers series
Date posted: May 17, 2005
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