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The Gift of European Thought and the Cost of Living
146 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78238-017-7 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (September 2013)
ISBN 978-1-78533-525-9 $29.95/£23.95 / Pb / Published (April 2017)
eISBN 978-1-78238-018-4 eBook
“…an extremely well thought out, interesting and timely piece of work… Its scope and concerns are simply exemplary: this is a book of social theory written by an anthropologist who fully uses the perspective given by his own disciplinary background to question deeply ingrained commonplaces of European thought, in particular the ‘critical tradition,’ without simply being dismissive of any use of critical thinking.” · Arpad Szakolczai, University College Cork
European thought is often said to be a gift to the rest of the world, but what if there is no gift as such? What if there is only an economy where every giving is also a taking, and every taking is also a giving? This book extends the question of economies by making a case for an “economy of thought” and a “political economy.” It argues that all thinking and doing presupposes taking, and therefore giving, as the price to pay for taking; or that there exists a “cost of living,” which renders the idea of free thinking and living untenable. The argument is developed against the Enlightenment directive to think for oneself as the means of becoming autonomous and shows that this “light,” given to the rest of the world as a gift, turns out to be nothing.
Vassos Argyrou is Professor of Social Anthropology and Cultural Theory in the School of Social Sciences, University of Hull. His publications include Tradition and Modernity in the Mediterranean: The Wedding as Symbolic Struggle (Cambridge University Press, 1996), Anthropology and the Will to Meaning: A Postcolonial Critique (Pluto Press, 2002), and The Logic of Environmentalism: Anthropology, Ecology and Postcoloniality (Berghahn Books, 2005).
Subject: Anthropology (General) Sociology Political and Economic Anthropology
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