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Keith Hart's Discussions

Why is anthropology not a public science?
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Started this discussion. Last reply by Cecilia Montero Mórtola Nov 16, 2013.

From the Center for Peripheral Studies (OAC Branch). After Lance, the sky's the limit!
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Started this discussion. Last reply by Keith Hart Jul 1, 2014.

Selling an online community of readers and writers in search of a Voice
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Started this discussion. Last reply by Elaine Forde Sep 5, 2013.


Keith Hart's Page

The Memory Bank: A New Commonwealth ver 5.0

I have recently posted two pieces on the potential for an anthropology of world society using the resources made available by the internet.

The digital revolution and me

Studying world society as a vocation

I have made two other attempts at telling my story (both sung to an old Hoagy Carmichael tune):

Manchester on my mind

Africa on my mind

About my website.

Banks are slower-moving deposits of fast-moving flows, whether of water, information or money. This website is my Memory Bank, but it is meant to reach out to a public that shares my aims. The two great human memory banks are language and money which are converging into a single network of digital communications in our time. The idea of a 'New Commonwealth' refers to the possibility that money might serve the purposes of economic democracy more fully than it has; but beyond that to the need to make a world society fit for all humanity.

We face an extraordinary moment in history when the old structures are palpably failing. The formation of a global civil society, even a world state, is an urgent task. Anthropology has a distinguished past, but it has an even greater role to play in future, not necessarily as an academic discipline, but perhaps as an interdisiciplinary project: to discover what we need to know about humanity as a whole if we would make a better world. Such a project depends on making full use of the emerging social and technical synthesis entailed in the digital revolution.

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At 12:43am on February 22, 2015, Mustafiz said…

Hi Keith,

I was wondering if it would be possible to study a religious institution as an economic institution? As religious institutions like seminaries, madrasas  are economically dependent on the neoliberal state, the negotiations of these institutions with the state on economic matters makes it a site worth exploring. Don't you think so? 

I thought I would ask this question because I sensed that the current practices of ethnography from an economic anthropologist's perspective seem to only concentrate on economic institutions like industries, financial institutions etc. but not religious institutions (I might be wrong, I have been exposed to economic anthropology this semester only). If that is so, why? 

At 8:01pm on January 22, 2015, Marina D'Costa said…

Incorporating the perspective of Human Economy was so much help to understand the challenges that one undergoes in financial inclusion, where economic inclusion of the individual plays a vital role. It is about who is being inclusive in the economy, thus working on human capital becomes essential for the growth of economy.

At 7:04pm on January 22, 2015, Marina D'Costa said…

Could you be specific of which line are you referring to ? 

At 11:02am on January 22, 2015, Marina D'Costa said…

Hi Keith, i am so glad could connect to OAC, your writing on Human Economy really helped me for my project on financial inclusion. Happy to have connected to this world of anthropos :) 

At 11:08am on December 27, 2014, Hansadhwani Prateeksha said…

Thank you Keith for such a quick response to my complaint of fraud.

I notice by going through your posts that you are someone who is very active in this field of inquiry, whereas I am someone inquisitive- i do not comprehend much of anthropology, so by snooping around I hope to get a whiff of what is happening.

I am a (self taught) social psychologist who is trained to be a musician fundamentally, and i work in mental health- as a researcher, psychologist, as well as entrepreneur.

Am trying to see in what way the world can be more healthy and evolve with the contribution of music (as a part of the larger context of education)- what could be the evolutionary potential of the arts for the human race. Not that these things are not known but in the times that we live in, everythign is so rigged by the money enterprise that though everything seems closer by, in fact everything is mediated by money- sadly!

But that hopefully is my life work- and that happens in myriad ways, in many dimensions. So somehow i landed here and hope to gain -knowledge, friends, insights and more (who knows what- collaborations? )

Latest Activity

Keith Hart replied to John McCreery's discussion Tim Ingold's "That's Enough About Ethnography"--The Seminar is Underway
"I am not against ethnography, although some think I am. The ethnographic revolution against evolutionary racism was by far our greatest achievement in the 20th century. In an earlier post on this thread, I claimed for ethnography (with literature,…"
7 hours ago
Keith Hart replied to John McCreery's discussion Tim Ingold's "That's Enough About Ethnography"--The Seminar is Underway
"Kristian, I think I have made it obvious enough what I mean. I wouldn't know how to produce a more realistic account of the sort you ask for and I don't have the time if I could.There are limits to what you can demand of participants in an…"
22 hours ago
Keith Hart replied to John McCreery's discussion Tim Ingold's "That's Enough About Ethnography"--The Seminar is Underway
"Lee, To be seen for who. you are does not mean mere transparency. One way of getting the point is through WEB Dubois' The Souls of Black Folk (1903). There he talks about the veil, the fact that an American Black will be seen as Black first and…"
Keith Hart replied to John McCreery's discussion Tim Ingold's "That's Enough About Ethnography"--The Seminar is Underway
"John, I was seeking to generalise, not to document cases. In view of the paper and our discussion of it, it seemed worthwhile to raise the issue of social inequality in fieldwork. From that point of view, the question was whether this had resonance…"
Keith Hart replied to John McCreery's discussion Tim Ingold's "That's Enough About Ethnography"--The Seminar is Underway
"There are moments, dear Lee, which make life worthwhile and you have given me one of them. But my joy is tempered by the need to confess who my master is in this. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul contrasts life as we know it with a purer version to…"
Keith Hart replied to John McCreery's discussion Tim Ingold's "That's Enough About Ethnography"--The Seminar is Underway
"Yes, Kristian, I too wondered if you were doing anything in the classroom apart from observing. This opens up another line on PO -- what is actually involved in participation? Maybe standing in a corner and taking it all in is a sort of…"
Keith Hart replied to John McCreery's discussion Tim Ingold's "That's Enough About Ethnography"--The Seminar is Underway
"I go for timeless, John. We enter families as babies with parents, education as students with teachers. Women have to struggle with the presumption of male superiority. Race is old and permeates everywhere. We confuse the aspiration to greater…"
Keith Hart replied to John McCreery's discussion Tim Ingold's "That's Enough About Ethnography"--The Seminar is Underway
"To extend Jon's observation, Tom Boellstorff has written a brilliant chapter for Horst and Miller's Digital Anthropology where he claims that virtual worlds offer an unrivalled opportunity to develop participant observation as a method.…"

Keith Hart's Blog

The uniqueness of humanity: a philosophical discussion (video)

The Uniqueness of Humanity examines the human condition through the lens of evolutionary theory. Darwin's work appears to ally evolution with advance, and we are often compelled to place humanity at the top of a hierarchy. Is…


Posted on December 1, 2013 at 11:50pm — 5 Comments

The anthropology of money and finance: from ethnography to world history

Come read and discuss an essay by Horacio Ortiz and myself posted online in separate parts, either here or on my website.

We review developments in the anthropology of money and finance over the last century, listing its achievements, shortcomings and prospects. Since the 1960s, anthropologists have tended to restrict themselves to niche fields and marginal debates.…


Posted on September 4, 2013 at 5:30pm — 21 Comments

The human economy: a strategy in the struggle for happiness

An earlier essay, ‘Manifesto for a human economy‘, deals explicitly with the object, theory and methods of a human economy approach. Here I examine some of the precedents for such an approach in the history of modern revolutions, drawing on Kant, Jefferson, Tocqueville, James and Gandhi.

‘Human economy’ is one way of taking forward the great conversation about making a better world.…


Posted on July 14, 2013 at 5:00pm — 2 Comments

An African liberal revolution in the 21st century?

I have just posted an essay exploring the prospects for African emancipation (as part of a world revolution) in the decades ahead. It's full title is Waiting for emancipation: towards an African liberal revolution. You can find it here. The essay summarises Africans' history of relations with the rest of the world and their current situation as the…

Posted on July 4, 2013 at 11:00am

The case for an African customs union

I will first explain what I mean by saying that the informal economy, a concept I was associated with coining in the early 1970s, has taken over the world, largely as a result of neoliberal deregulation over the last three decades (pp. 1-3). After a brief account of my own early exposure to West Africa (pp. 3-5), I turn to the question of how and why Africa has long been a symbol of global inequality. Even after independence, Africans are still waiting from emancipation (pp. 5-10). Even so…


Posted on June 6, 2013 at 3:24pm

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