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Keith Hart's Discussions

Suggestions and comments for the OAC Seminar series
18 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by Cecilia Montero Mórtola Apr 10.

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.


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 Huon Wardle's discussion Hands on the Cave Wall: the neverending human revision of inequality and community
"Ferguson starts from the fact the the ANC spends a quarter of its revenues on state transfers, mainly to the rural poor. Several people have pointed out that this doesn't square that easily with the characterisation of South Africa as…"
21 hours ago
Keith Hart replied to Huon Wardle's discussion Hands on the Cave Wall: the neverending human revision of inequality and community
"Thanks for this meticulous and enlightening account, Kristian. Perhaps a reductionist version would go: Self-organization is often egalitarian in practice (without being actually equal), whereas any state initiative with an egalitarian purpose will…"
23 hours ago
Keith Hart replied to Huon Wardle's discussion Hands on the Cave Wall: the neverending human revision of inequality and community
"OK, Huon. I avoided replying for a while and like you I will withdraw now, with no compromise in sight. I had in mind the experience of members of an underclass (black, gay, women, children, Scots) whose inequality in the extreme is maintained by…"
Keith Hart replied to Huon Wardle's discussion Hands on the Cave Wall: the neverending human revision of inequality and community
"As long as anthropology is about what each of us thinks, we will constitute an ill-disciplined rabble. I am depressed rather than astonished by the apocalyptic abstractions that pass for analysis here, when so many people around the world suffer in…"
May 24
Keith Hart replied to Huon Wardle's discussion Hands on the Cave Wall: the neverending human revision of inequality and community
"Huon, We are clearly arguing from different premises and that doesn't offer much hope of agreement. From what I can see, you argue from empirical variation. Moreover, your position has shifted from posing inequality as the opposite, even…"
May 21
Keith Hart replied to Huon Wardle's discussion Hands on the Cave Wall: the neverending human revision of inequality and community
"Huon, I can feel the excitement that you bring to the distinction between hierarchy and inequality, but I don't buy it. Equality and inequality are about treating people as fellow human beings or not -- binaries like free/slave, male/female,…"
May 20
Keith Hart replied to Huon Wardle's discussion Hands on the Cave Wall: the neverending human revision of inequality and community
"All th eway through reading this, Huon, I expected you to come up with the but...that inequality and hierarchy sometimes generate their dialectical negation, equality, community, sharing. In fact you do, but in a passage with so many exciting…"
May 15
Keith Hart replied to Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay's discussion Who are tribes, aborigines and folks???
"There's too much here to address seriously. I want to start with a parody. Arnold Van Gennep wrote a satire of the social sciences, The Semi-Scholars, each chapter a different discipline. His anthropologist was a buffoon called Desire Pepin who…"
May 14

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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