A forum to discuss how economic anthropology might be regenerated by taking advantage of new social forms such as this one.
Latest Activity: Mar 26, 2017
Hann&Hart toc and intro.doc
Nishibe labour money.pdf
Started by Keith Hart. Last reply by Keith Hart Dec 9, 2012.
Started by John McCreery May 2, 2012.
Started by Nathan Dobson. Last reply by Nathan Dobson Apr 30, 2012.
Started by Keith Hart. Last reply by Nathan Dobson Apr 30, 2012.
Started by Nathan Dobson. Last reply by Nathan Dobson Mar 21, 2012.
In my experience, anthropologists tend to think of structures in terms of constraints, obstacles to individual autonomy. We neglect the fact that structures can also be opportunities. When I think of my own life, I note, at one end of the scale, that the position of the USA in the post-WWII world system has made my passport extraordinarily desirable. Being born in the USA in a middle-class family, growing up in a state and county with good public schools, being able to go to college and then to graduate school — I grew up with structures on my side, opening doors wherever I turned. On a more micro level, the fact that when I found myself an unemployed anthropologist, I was married to a very smart woman who was doing Japanese literature and had a colleague who had worked in advertising in Japan and the timing that brought us to Japan shortly before the economic bubble of the 1980s...but enough of that.
The critical point is that structures always leave people with choices. Some may be hard choices. A girl in Afghanistan going to a school that may be bombed any day, facing the threat of violence from those around her who believe that she is destroying local values is one example. A battered wife with no job skills and children she needs to protect may have more than psychological issues preventing her from leaving an abusive husband. But choices and the possibility of courage remain.
Perhaps we anthropologists need to pay more attention to that.
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