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Anthropology and Economic Imperialism: The Battlefield of Culture

  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • Philosophy


The concept of culture is traditionally the home turf of anthropologists. However, economists have become increasingly interested in culture, using the language of culture to study both macro- and micro-level economic phenomena. Anthropologists view this as an encroachment into their territory and are battling to keep the 'economic imperialists' out. This paper examines, from a philosophy of science perspective, the inherent differences between the disciplines of anthropology and economics that lie at the heart of this battle. It concludes by observing how a greater appreciation of and respect for each other’s view of culture can foster closer collaboration and further enrich both disciplines.

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