Local Models of Economy

I never intended to look at people’s models of economy. The approach emerged from my incomprehension about what the local folk were saying and doing when I was in the field in Panama and Colombia. The people with whom I lived did not deploy rational choice, decision trees, and other formal concepts. Over time I realized they have distinct ideas and beliefs about material life. Seldom written and often embedded in sayings and practices, these models frequently are expressed through figurative speech. I term them “local models” of economy, and have come to think all models of economy including ours are local, for they are buttressed by cultural assumptions, change over time, and are limited to a context, although some expand and eviscerate others. In this talk I shall address features of local models of economy and provide a few ethnographic examples including some from Western history.

Professor Stephen Gudeman will be visiting the Social Science Division in Michaelmas Term 2018 as an Astor Visitng Lecturer.

About Professor Gudeman

Steve Gudeman is Emeritus Professor at the University of Minnesota and Associate Member of the Max Planck Institute. Trained at Harvard, Cambridge, and the Harvard Business School, he has carried out fieldwork in Panama, Colombia, Guatemala, and Cuba, and has supervised a research project in six former socialist nations of Eastern Europe.

The author or editor of 12 books and numerous articles, he frequently focuses on economy as well as social life and related topics. A visiting professor at several universities, he has been a member of different institutes in the US and Europe.

Students will be particularly interested in reading: Anthropology and Economy (2016, Cambridge University Press); Economy’s Tension. The Dialectics of Community and Market (2008, Berghahn); and an earlier book co-written with Alberto Rivera, Conversations in Colombia: The Domestic Economy in Life and Text (1990, Cambridge University Press).

He will be delivering another seminar at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Find out more here.

11 Oct
16:30 to 17:30
  • Professor Stephen Gudeman (University of Minnesota)
ODID Special Lectures & Seminars
Queen Elizabeth House, Seminar Room 3, 3 Mansfield Road OX1 3TB