Anthropology for economists

March 14th 2015

Do economists read anthropology? Certainly David Graeber's and Gillian Tett's books have gained traction. Graeber's "Debt: The First 5,000 Years" ranks at #19 in Amazon's economic theory books and has even spawned a companion guide to explain the book's main points. Tett's Fool's Gold discussed the causes of the global financial crisis and was reviewed in places like the New York Times.

But there are many other books written by economic anthropologists that could be of interest to economists. I recently discussed what anthropologists can to to promote their work in a short article in the Society for Economic Anthropology's section of Anthropology News.

Consumers, users, clients, subjects: Towards people-centric collaborations

February 18th 2015

People working in consumer finance who want to share perspectives across different sectors and disciplines face a communication problem: finding a shared language to talk about people and trying to understand their lives.

The bad news is that “thought silos” persist and block possibilities for valuable collaborations. The good news is that a great deal of collaborative work is already underway that demonstrates the value of getting past the silos.

Launching new project on global consumer finance research

December 8th 2014

Gawain Lynch and I are happy to announce that we have just begun a new project with the IMTFI on global research in consumer finance.

Over the next eight months we will be surveying research in consumer finance globally to understand how changes in consumer finance globally are affecting consumers, and how researchers are adapting to understand consumers as they grapple with these changes.

Mobilizing concepts across disciplines: An economic analysis

December 8th 2014

There are many lenses through which we can think about mobility. There is no one correct lens to use; in fact, adopting different lenses at different moments can help us spot things that we may have otherwise missed.

Many anthropologists do fieldwork in places where we are strangers. One one of the major advantages of this is that it allows us to notice things that we would likely take for granted if we we insiders to the community that we were trying to study.