Sociology and Anthropology of Economic Life I: The Moral Embedding of Economic Action

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With essays published over the last three decades, the twin-volume Sociology and Anthropology of Economic Life provides a comprehensive account of the major issues and debates in economic anthropology and sociology as they pertain to Indian society and culture. Thinking beyond the polarized dichotomies of tradition and modernity, holism and individualism, local and global, both volumes explore the diverse ways in which "economic" life constitutes and is constituted by other social realms.

The first volume, The Moral Embedding of Economic Action, focuses on the ways in which ethical, moral, and affective forces shape activities such as production, exchange, and consumption that we habitually characterize as "economic." Combining comparative theoretical formulations with rich ethnographic data, the essays engage with a wide range of questions. What are the appropriate categories and methodologies for understanding economic relations in rural India? How do technologies related to natural resources acquire different institutional forms as they become embedded in social relations of caste, kinship, and local struggles for power? What are the moral and affective valences that give economic activities their force in social life?

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Veena Das is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University.

Rajendra K. Das is Retired Professor of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics in the University of Delhi.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction, Veena Das and Rajendra K. Das
Section One: Reading the Ethnographic Record: Conceptual and Methodological Issues
2. Class Structure in an Agrarian Society: The Case of the Jotedars, Andre Beteille
3. Misconceiving the Grain Heap: A Critique of the Concept of the Indian Jajmani System, C.J. Fuller
4. Knowing About Rural Economic Change: Problems Arising From a Comparison of the Results of 'Macro' and 'Micro' Research in Tamil Nadu, John Harris
Section Two: Nature, Institutions, and Environment
5. 'Indigenous' Knowledges: Ecology, Akhil Gupta
6. The Local Politics of Groundwater in North Gujarat, Navroz K. Dubash
7. Perspectives on Commons' Encroachment, Rita Brara
Section Three: Sentiments, Values, and Affects
8. 'Let the Water for the Paddy Also Irrigate the Grass': On the Sympathetic Currents of the Aqueous Self, Anand Pandian
9. On the Moral Perils of Exchange, Johathan Parry
10. Women's Work: Quilt Making and Gift Giving, Deepak Mehta
11. On Living in the Kal(i)yug: Notes from Nagda, Madhya Pradesh, Christopher Pinney
12. Newcomers to the World of Goods: Consumption among the Muria Gonds, Alfred Gell

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