Economic Anthropology

Economics can be defined as the science which lends a helping hand to the economic units enabling them to make rational choices from the available information. The economic units include households, producers, consumers, entrepreneurs, government, etc. Anthropology is the science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind.

Economic anthropology analyses decisions and behaviour of economic agents who are embedded in the networks of social relationships and cultural influences. Economic Anthropology is directly concerned with the most central anthropological issues of human nature, choice, values, and morality.

Of late, the sociological aspects of issues pertaining to the economy are increasingly being avoided. The convenient answer which is given for such occurrence is that a ‘lobby’ has exerted tremendous pressure. The issue is discarded and the media has a majority share in making most of the populace ‘conveniently informed’.

Like any other science, the social sciences are interdependent and interrelated. Thus, to learn economics as an isolated subject, will not enable the learner to get a totalitarian comprehensive view of the economy in the real sense. Mathematics has got so entrenched in economics, that other social science like sociology, history etc are not given the required importance.

Thus, it is of paramount importance that a paper in Economic Anthropology’be offered to the students of economics, especially at the undergraduate level. In India, owing to the impact of Occidentalism and the better research opportunities provided in the west, especially in the US, a frantic race for learning mathematics is imminent. (Other social sciences are ignored) This can lead to a clique of economists who have limited knowledge about the sociological impacts of policies and issues under their purview.

Resources online

1) Society for Economic Anthropology
2) Economic Anthropology books
3) University of Sussex (Study abroad: Economic Anthropology)
4) Clifford Geertz (Anthropologist)