Between Lévi-Strauss and Braudel: Furtado and the Historical-Structural Method in Latin American Political Economy
Journal of Economic Methodology, vol. 22, 2015
42 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2014 Last revised: 16 Aug 2014
Date Written: June 1, 2014
The methodology of Latin American economic structuralism has been generally interpreted as an implicit extension of classic French structuralism of Claude Lévi-Strauss and others, without careful examination of the methodological pronouncements of Latin American economists and social scientists. The present paper provides a detailed treatment of how Latin American structuralist methodology was formed between the 1950s and 1970s, with emphasis on Celso Furtado’s views. Furtado was influenced by both C. Lévi-Strauss’s and F. Braudel’s apparently incompatible approaches to structure and history. Furtado’s suggested combination of structure and history was based on the use of economic models to interpret successive historical structures, plus the development of the notion of creativity as a link between structures and processes. It differed in some important aspects from the “historical-structural method” usually associated with other Latin American authors such as Sunkel, and Cardoso & Faletto, which was built on existentialism and dialectics.
Keywords: Celso Furtado, structuralism, historical-structural method, Latin American political economy
JEL Classification: B20, B31, B41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation