Category Archives: Anthropology

RCT, economics and qualitative research

Imagine how gratifying it is for me to wake up this morning and find this post by Edward Caar through a Twitter link: What brings me to today’s post is the new piece on hunger in Foreign Policy by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo.  On one hand, this is great news – good to see… Read More »

Two thoughtful articles on Islam and violence in Northern Nigeria

Both on NigeriansTalk. First, in a post titled Jos and Maiduguri Attacks: If not ethno-religious, then what? Yomi Ogunsanya writes: The crises can also be understood in the context of Nigeria’s perverse inequality, high rate of unemployment, and worsening poverty rate, all of which are, of course, largely the upshot of institutional dysfunction, absence of… Read More »

Insights from an ethnography of the American housing market

In her latest column, Gillian Tett draws attention to the research of Anne Jefferson, an anthropologist who is studying how mortgage foreclosures are unfolding in the United States. This caught my attention: In the past century, American culture has developed a well-entrenched, commonly shared national narrative to explain and justify success – the myth of… Read More »

Karl Polanyi: The Limits of the Market

That is the title of a new book by Gareth Dale. If you are interested in economic history and the history of ideas you should check out the book. Or at least this review. The book is acclaimed as the first comprehensive book on the ideas and legacy of Karl Polanyi. If you have ever… Read More »

Secondhand Clothing: Mediating Aspirations and Desires

As donations, pieces of clothing bear imprints of the aspirations of their donors, and as purchased commodities, they are invested with the desires of their consumers. This article describes a particular configuration of the international trade in secondhand clothing. The trade links Western homes with West Africans families in an intricate web; its history also… Read More »

On Negrologie

Keith Hart, the economic anthropologist who, from his research with urban slum dwellers in 1960s Ghana, coined the term ‘informal economy’, announced his intention a couple of days ago to kick-start the writing of a book, Africa’s Urban Revolution, with a series of blog posts. The first in the series appears today, and it is an… Read More »

Recycling Indian Clothing: Global Contexts of Reuse and Value

… is the title of a new book by Lucy Norris of the Department of Anthropology, University College, London. The blurb: In today’s globally connected marketplace, a wedding sari in rural north India may become a woman’s blouse or cushion cover in a Western boutique. Lucy Norris’s anthropological study of the recycling of clothes in Delhi… Read More »

The cultural significance of America’s increasing consumption of sushi

By FT’s Gillian Tett: … in just a few years, sushi has colonised urban centres with startling speed. The first wave of sushi restaurants cropped up in California in the 1970s, partly to service the estimated one million Americans of Japanese descent. But now they are ubiquitous, serving Caucasians too: teenagers take sushi to school;… Read More »