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Critical realism and economic anthropology

Lookup NU author(s): Dr David GolightlyORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Taylor and Francis Ltd., 2017.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.This paper discusses basic critical realism within the context of economic anthropology and develops an approach to studying material relations between people. A diachronic form of analysis, following the work of Bhaskar and Archer, is described as a practical means of analysing property rights. This new approach emphasises epistemic relativism and ontological realism in order to compare disparate forms of human interaction across cultures. The aim of doing this is to develop a philosophical framework that allows for the comparison of economic practices without resorting to judgemental relativism. The implications are significant for institutional economics and anthropology alike, particularly for researchers examining multiple overlapping practices such as market and gift exchange.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harvey J, Smith A, Golightly D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Critical Realism

Year: 2017

Volume: 16

Issue: 5

Pages: 431-450

Print publication date: 20/10/2017

Online publication date: 10/10/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Date deposited: 08/07/2019

ISSN (print): 1476-7430

ISSN (electronic): 1572-5138

Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd.


DOI: 10.1080/14767430.2017.1377384


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