Economic Anthropology

The department’s conception of economy was substantivist in the tradition of Karl Polanyi (similar to that deployed over decades at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, where sociologists have investigated the social embeddedness of economy in a narrower range of capitalist societies). Our first large-scale comparative initiative concerned the decollectivization of agriculture in the former Soviet bloc. This was undertaken within the theoretical framework of Property Relations . Subsequent work included ever closer attention to the relevance of Polanyi in an age of runaway neoliberalism and populist politics; a series of postdoctoral projects that led to collective volumes in the Berghahn Books series Max Planck Studies in Anthropology and Economy ; projects in Southeast Asia led by Kirsten W. Endres, Traders, Markets and the State in Vietnam  (2011-2016), followed by Electric Statemaking in the Greater Mekong Subregion  (2017-2023); Realising Eurasia, a project funded by the European Research Council, with an empirical focus on the economy (both political and moral) of family businesses in medium-sized cities (2014-2020); and MAX-CAM .

Further Reading:
Chris Hann and the Property Relations Group: The Postsocialist Agrarian Question. Property Relations and the Rural Condition. Münster: LIT Verlag (2003).
Chris Hann and Keith Hart (eds): Market and Society: The Great Transformation Today. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2009).
Stephen Gudeman and Chris Hann (eds): Economy and Ritual: Studies of Postsocialist Transformations. New York: Berghahn Books (2015).
Chris Hann and Jonathan Parry (eds): Industrial Labor on the Margins of Capitalism: Precarity, Class, and the Neoliberal Subject. New York: Berghahn Books (2018).
Kirsten W. Endres: Market Frictions: Trade and Urbanization at the Vietnam-China Border. New York: Berghahn Books (2019).
Chris Hann: Repatriating Polanyi. Market Society in the Visegrád States. Budapest: Central European University Press (2019).
Chris Hann and Don Kalb (eds): Financialization. Relational Approaches. New York: Berghahn Books (2020).
Chris Hann (ed): Work, Society and the Ethical Self: Chimeras of Freedom in the Neoliberal Era. New York: Berghahn Books (2021).
Lale Yalçın-Heckmann (ed): Moral Economy at Work: Ethnographic Investigations in Eurasia. New York: Berghahn Books (2022).
Chris Hann and Deborah James (eds): One Hundred Years of Argonauts. Malinowski, Ethnography, and Economic Anthropology. New York: Berghahn Books (2024).

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