Comment on "The Meaning of Anthropology for Economic Science: A Case for Intellectual Reciprocity." (Notes and Communications)

By Schaniel, William C.; Neale, Walter C. | Journal of Economic Issues, September 1994 | Go to article overview

Comment on "The Meaning of Anthropology for Economic Science: A Case for Intellectual Reciprocity." (Notes and Communications)


Schaniel, William C., Neale, Walter C., Journal of Economic Issues


We applaud the premises and purpose of Professor Hamilton's December 1991 article: that the discipline of economics, and most notably institutional economics, should adopt the methods and attitudes as well as the data and analyses of anthropology into our perspectives on economic activity--that economics should be as sensitive to the folkviews and mythmaking of our own culture as anthropologists and others are to the folkviews of other peoples. It is therefore with some reluctance that we, as institutionalists in the Karl Polanyi tradition, express three disagreements with Hamilton's presentation.

Our first disagreement is with Hamilton's interpretation of Karl Polanyi's forms of integration and, in particular, with the meaning that be attaches to reciprocity: contrary to Hamilton's use, the forms of integration have no cultural or motivational content; rather, they are ways that analysts can map flows of goods. The forms of integration "map" the flows of goods among people and social units by describing or representing the physical and/or appropriational movement of goods, but they say nothing about the rules and folkviews that result in or give meaning to that pattern. For example, reciprocity describes both (1) the movement of expensive Christmas gifts from parents to children and of home-made Christmas gifts from children to parents and (2) gifts of treasure by Homeric warriors; the cultural contexts and social consequences of the two are entirely different. Thus, reciprocity as a form of integration is not a principle but a form or pattern. A diagram with arrows to indicate the movement of goods between parties may serve to illustrate "mapping" (see Figure 1).

Our second disagreement is with his interpretation of Polanyi's discussion of Speenhamland. Speenhamland, far from being the origin of the self-regulating market--or an end to the applicability of ethnographic method--as Hamilton argues, was the last major effort to keep the labor market embedded in other social relationships. Our final disagreement is about some views ascribed to Polanyi and the "Polanyi Group" [p. 942]. Hamilton asserts that people in the Polanyi tradition treat industrial as synonymous with market [p. 944]; here Hamilton appears to think that Polanyi and those who follow him confuse a form of integration (market) with a particular case of the form (market capitalism).

First disagreement. In The Great Transformation [1957a], Polanyi introduced the idea that economies could be classified, among other ways, by the dominant "form of integration of divided labor." The propositions were that labor-in making, storing, and moving things--was always divided by "sex, geography, and natural endowment," and that there were various ways that the results of the divided labor could be reintegrated in the distribution and use of things. Polanyi [1957a, 43-56] suggested that (as a matter of observation, not of logic) there seemed to be four such forms of integration--what we might call patterns for accessing the products of divided labor.

1. Reciprocity, marked by a continuous and recurring passing on of the results of divided labor from each unit within a symmetrically organized social system to some other unit.

2. Redistribution, marked by a delivery-physically or in appropriational authority--of the results of divided labor to a socially dominant center and its later redistribution by that center.

3. Householding: production by and within a unit for its own use. The social principle was autarchy. Householding in fact appeared to be redistribution-writ-small, which is why it later disappeared from Polanyi's [1957b, 250-256] list.

4. Barter, which fitted into a market pattern of society. Barter as a form of integration is now more commonly called a market system; and it would have been clearer had Polanyi said that the societies into which market systems fit must be characterized by legally independent units that may contract or refuse to contract with any other unit.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Comment on "The Meaning of Anthropology for Economic Science: A Case for Intellectual Reciprocity." (Notes and Communications)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.