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 3: Inequality

Tom Neumark


This chapter sets out a research agenda for how social anthropology as a discipline may study economic inequality. It argues that future research should seek to pay attention both to the social and to the moral constitution of economic inequality. Using the sociology and morality of inequality as a framework, it suggests a central area of study should be the examination of the appropriation and distribution of surplus. The chapter presents a number of areas that may be explored in relation to this surplus. It finishes by suggesting that a further area of study would be to expand this focus on surplus by considering historical and contemporary radical alternatives to the political and economic systems that currently generate such dramatic levels of inequality.

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