Anthropology as the basic science of economic theory: towards a cultural theory of economics

Journal of Economic Methodology 12 (3):455-469 (2005)
Abstract
Economics and culture are in a complex, developing relation to each other. Yet, to introduce ?culture? into economic theory requires, first of all, an appropriate understanding of culture itself. The crucial point of this paper is that culture in its development and structure is only understandable if one considers it in connection with the autonomous structural development of the forms with which the subjects experience and construct their world. In recognition of the socio?cultural organization of human society, there is no absolute autonomy of individuals in comparison to society and economics, while together with this interdependency the development of rationality exceeds mere instrumentality. Through ontogenesis, every individual is located ?within the boundaries of society?. What are consequences for economic theory? First of all: Economics is a cultural science in a double sense. Its object is the changing world of economic phenomena that are bound in a very specific cultural context. However, culture is not only relevant for the phenomena of socio?economic life, but also for the phenomena of economic science, i.e. for the development of economic thought.
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