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Keith Hart's Discussions

The two OAC's (here and on Facebook)
43 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by John McCreery Jan 11.

New OAC online seminar Emancipatory Politics - A Critique (Nov 23 To Dec 5)
21 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by John McCreery Dec 5, 2015.


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.

Comment Wall (641 comments)

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At 6:54pm on April 8, 2016, Conrad Kottak said…

Hi Keith.

Good to hear form you.  Betty and I now live in South Carolina.  Paris sounds better.  We get there from time to time.  Hope to see you in Minneapolis.  Conrad

At 10:20pm on February 3, 2016, Thomas Dunk said…

I knew he is at Wit and glad to know you are connecting with him. Please give him my best.

At 10:06pm on February 3, 2016, Thomas Dunk said…

Hi Keith. It is great to connect with you again. I have not been in touch with Eric for a very long time. How about you?

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.

Latest Activity

Keith Hart replied to John McCreery's discussion Anthropology for a Wired Planet
"It was published by Profile, London in 2000, republished by Texere, New York in 2001 as Money in  an Unequal World. Yes I should have included a caveat on the status of its contents. It was written just before the collapse of the dot com boom.…"
1 hour ago
Keith Hart replied to John McCreery's discussion Anthropology for a Wired Planet
"Thanks for bringing this up in a creative way, John. It is the core of what the OAC is about and, for all our achievements as a network, we could do  with thinking more about practical ways of achieving this goal. Clearly we need to learn…"
5 hours ago
Hamlet Melkumian joined Keith Hart's group

The Human Economy

A forum to discuss the agenda laid out in a new book, The Human Economy: A Citizen's Guide.
Aug 8
Keith Hart replied to Abraham Heinemann's discussion What makes a good Publisher of scholarly work?
"Hi, Ave. I meant that only a handlful have had a book of theirs published, not had dared to be a publisher. I was referring to the current academic norm that, if you want to get ahead, you must have a book or two published. Many people waste years…"
Jul 7
Keith Hart replied to Abraham Heinemann's discussion What makes a good Publisher of scholarly work?
"This is easy. Most people have to work at something else besides part-time publisher. The payoffs in status are lower. The same goes for running the OAC. There is a widespread academic trait that leads the inmates to think they have no time, when…"
Jul 7
Keith Hart replied to Abraham Heinemann's discussion What makes a good Publisher of scholarly work?
"The oligopoly -- Wiley, Springer, Elsevier, Taylor and Francis -- charge exorbitant prices and apparently are concerned only with how many copies they can sell, not the content. I was asked recently by one of them to write a book on any topic of my…"
Jul 7
Keith Hart replied to ryan anderson's discussion "Counting on Change," OAC e-seminar with Erin Taylor (June 22-July 6) is NOW OPEN.
"Thnaks for this very clear and informative review, Erin. Money and language and the two main means of communication that humanity has. As they say, if you don't like the song, don't shoot the pianist. Money's role as a means of…"
Jul 7
Mauro Rodrigues joined Keith Hart's group

Economic anthropology

A forum to discuss how economic anthropology might be regenerated by taking advantage of new social forms such as this one.
Jul 5

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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