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Anthropology and Economic Imperialism: The Battlefield of Culture

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  • Swee Hoon Chuah

    ()
    (Nottingham University Business School)

Abstract

The concept of culture is traditionally the home turf of anthropologists. However, economists have become increasingly interested in culture, using the language of culture to study both macro- and micro-level economic phenomena. Anthropologists view this as an encroachment into their territory and are battling to keep the 'economic imperialists' out. This paper examines, from a philosophy of science perspective, the inherent differences between the disciplines of anthropology and economics that lie at the heart of this battle. It concludes by observing how a greater appreciation of and respect for each other’s view of culture can foster closer collaboration and further enrich both disciplines.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Nottingham University Business School in its series Occasional Papers with number 3.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 09 2003
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Handle: RePEc:nom:occasi:3

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Keywords: Culture; anthropology; methodology; modernism; relativism; post-modernism;

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  1. Altman, Morris, 2001. "Culture, human agency, and economic theory: culture as a determinant of material welfare," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 379-391.
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  3. Boulding, Kenneth E, 1970. "Is Economics Culture-bound?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 406-11, May.
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  5. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Economic Imperialism," NBER Working Papers 7300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Weimann, Joachim, 1994. "Individual behaviour in a free riding experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 185-200, June.
  8. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
  9. Frederking, Lauretta Conklin, 2002. "Is there an endogenous relationship between culture and economic development?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 105-126, June.
  10. Burlando, Roberto & Hey, John D., 1997. "Do Anglo-Saxons free-ride more?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 41-60, April.
  11. Joseph Henrich, 2000. "Does Culture Matter in Economic Behavior? Ultimatum Game Bargaining among the Machiguenga of the Peruvian Amazon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 973-979, September.
  12. Uskali Maki, 1995. "Diagnosing McCloskey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 1300-1318, September.
  13. Cochran, Thomas C., 1960. "Cultural Factors in Economic Growth," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(04), pages 515-530, December.
  14. Hausman, Daniel M, 1989. "Economic Methodology in a Nutshell," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 115-27, Spring.
  15. Temin, Peter, 1997. "Is it Kosher to Talk about Culture?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(02), pages 267-287, June.
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