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Title: Towards a dialectical anthropology of capitalism
Authors: Campbell, Stephen
Keywords: Social sciences::Sociology
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Campbell, S. (2019). Towards a dialectical anthropology of capitalism. Social Anthropology, 27(3), 547-553. doi:10.1111/1469-8676.12597
Journal: Social Anthropology 
Abstract: Classical logic, Hegel observed, is premised on atomistic categories, forcing its think-ers to apply either–or judgements – contingency or necessity, universal or particular, discrete or continuous, and so forth. Dialectical reason, by contrast, recognises such seeming antitheses as mutually constitutive sides of conceptual wholes – empty, that is, in and of themselves (Hegel 2010 [1812]).This insight gains relevance for the anthropology of capitalism due to our discip-line’s penchant for polemical reasoning, and one notable instance thereof. While its roots lie in earlier debates, the birth of Anthropology’s culture wars can be most read-ily set in the mid- 1970s. For it was then that Marvin Harris (1974) published his Cows, pigs, wars, and witches, followed by Marshall Sahlins’ (1976) Culture and practical reason. For Harris, human cultural diversity could best be understood, not through ‘spiritualized’ explanations, but by tracing particular cultural phenomena back to their ‘down- to- earth’ material causes (1974: 4). For Sahlins (1976), by contrast, cultures were to be understood as symbolic orders operating according to meaningful internal logics rather than to cross- culturally recognisable material conditions.
ISSN: 0964-0282
DOI: 10.1111/1469-8676.12597
Schools: School of Social Sciences 
Rights: © 2018 European Association of Social Anthropologists. All rights reserved. This paper was published by Wiley in Social Anthropology and is made available with permission of European Association of Social Anthropologists.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SSS Journal Articles

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