A Research Agenda for Economic Anthropology
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A Research Agenda for Economic Anthropology

Edited by James G. Carrier

The financial crisis and its economic and political aftermath have changed the ways that many anthropologists approach economic activities, institutions and systems. This insightful volume presents important elements of this change. With topics ranging from the relationship of states and markets to the ways that anthropologists’ political preferences and assumptions harm their work, the book presents cogent statements by younger and established scholars of how existing research areas can be extended and the new avenues that ought to be pursued.
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Chapter 5: Resources: Nature, value and time

Jaume Franquesa


The central premise of this chapter is that natural resources constitute the baseline around which an economic anthropology can be articulated that is attentive both to the commodification of nature and to the particularities of environmental relations. My argument is divided into two parts. The first one explores the concept of resources and the key processes through which resources are made and argues that research on natural resources finds its common ground in the dialectical analysis of value relations. Throughout my discussion I briefly engage with a series of issues that inform key contemporary anthropological debates: materiality, temporality, power, the nature–culture dualism. In the second part I offer a series of paths for future research. Arguing for the need to both focus on and go beyond the alienation–extraction–exhaustion cycle that characterises natural resources, I identify a series of research areas, and within them I suggest potential research topics.

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