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Economic Persuasions
Volume 3

Studies in Rhetoric and Culture

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Economic Persuasions

Edited by Stephen Gudeman

238 pages, 3 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-436-4 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (June 2009)

ISBN  978-0-85745-663-2 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (June 2012)

eISBN 978-1-84545-926-0 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


The volume features contributions from an impressive array of scholars operating at the borders between anthropology, sociology, and economics, and offers much to interest scholars from each of these disciplines.”  ·  JRAI


As the transition from socialism to a market economy gathered speed in the early 1990s, many people proclaimed the final success of capitalism as a practice and neoliberal economics as its accompanying science. But with the uneven achievements of the “transition”—the deepening problems of “development,” persistent unemployment, the widening of the wealth gap, and expressions of resistance—the discipline of economics is no longer seen as a mirror of reality or as a unified science. How should we understand economics and, more broadly, the organization and disorganization of material life? In this book, international scholars from anthropology and economics adopt a rhetorical perspective in order to make sense of material life and the theories about it. Re-examining central problems in the two fields and using ethnographic and historical examples, they explore the intersections between these disciplines, contrast their methods and epistemologies, and show how a rhetorical approach offers a new mode of analysis while drawing on established contributions.

Stephen Gudeman received his PhD in Anthropology from Cambridge University and his MBA from the Harvard Business School. He is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota and has carried out fieldwork in Panama, Colombia, Guatemala, and Cuba. He works at the intersection of anthropology and economics. His books include The Anthropology of Economy (Blackwell), Conversations in Colombia, with Alberto Rivera (Cambridge University Press), Economics as Culture (Routledge), The Demise of a Rural Economy (Routledge), and Economy’s Tension (Berghahn).

Subject: Theory and Methodology Political and Economic Anthropology

An interview of the economic anthropologist Stephen Gudeman, talking about his life and work. Filmed on 14th May 2010 by Alan Macfarlane and summary by Sarah Harrison. Generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust.


Stephen Gudeman

Chapter 1. Introduction
Stephen Gudeman

Chapter 2. Simplicity in economic anthropology: Persuasion, form and substance
James G. Carrier

Chapter 3. The concept of interest as rhetoric – or as a useful social science concept?
Richard Swedberg

Chapter 4. The new social science imperialism and the problem of knowledge in contemporary economics
William Milberg

Chapter 5. The persuasions of economics
Stephen Gudeman

Chapter 6. Conversations between anthropologists and economists
Metin Cosgel

Chapter 7. “The craving for intelligibility:” Speech and silence on the economy under structural adjustment and military rule in Nigeria
Jane Guyer with LaRay Denzer

Chapter 8. Mass-gifts: On gifts in advanced capitalist markets
Nurit Bird-David and Asaf Darr

Chapter 9. The persuasive power of money
Keith Hart

Chapter 10. The money rhetoric in the United States
Ruben George Oliven

Chapter 11. The third way: A cultural economic perspective
Arjo Klamer


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