Well thought-out and developed, organized and expressed clearly, and show evidence of comprehension and critical reflection..
Well thought-out and developed, organized and expressed clearly, and show evidence of comprehension and critical reflection.
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Economic anthropology has had an ambivalent relationship to economics. As Wilk and Cliggett describe, substantivist economic anthropologists have argued that the assumptions and models of modern economics are inappropriate for analyzing non-industrial societies. Formalists have argued, on the other hand, that human beings everywhere are rational and economizing, seeking to maximize gains and minimize costs, and that the tools economists use to analyze decision-making in modern capitalist economies are applicable elsewhere. Examine two or three of the ethnographic examples in Chibnik’s Anthropology, Economics and Choice. How might a formalist approach these examples, and how might a substantivist respond? Could the two positions be reconciled? Your answer should consider some of the main critiques of economics from an anthropological perspective and ways in which ideas from economics might be applied in economic anthropology.
The government of Lagunastan approaches you for advice about its policies towards the Kiriakou, a minority ethnic group who make a living from reindeer herding in the foothills of Lagunastan. Currently the foothills are unfenced, and herders move across the landscape seasonally. One official is proposing that the government should take control, by placing strict limits on the number and movement of reindeer. Another is arguing that the foothills should be privatized, and parcelled out among the reindeer herders, but the government admits that they know little about the reindeer herders, and is willing to consider options besides these two. As an anthropologist, you are commissioned to study the situation and make recommendations. What are the key questions of your study, and what recommendations would you make? In answering the question, you should consider how 1) Garrett Hardin and 2) Elinor Ostrom (or James Acheson or Arun Agrawal) might approach this case, and draw upon ethnographic cases from the course to justify your questions and recommendations.