Black Sea Scientific Journal Of Academic Research

Commentary Article - (2022) Volume 59, Issue 3


Rahul Karpe*
Department of Anthropology, University of Kelaniya, Colombo, Sri Lanka
*Correspondence: Rahul Karpe, Department of Anthropology, University of Kelaniya, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Email:

Received: Nov 28, 2022, Manuscript No. BSSJAR-22-82810; Editor assigned: Dec 02, 2022, Pre QC No. BSSJAR-22-82810(PQ); Reviewed: Dec 16, 2022, QC No. BSSJAR-22-82810; Revised: Dec 23, 2022, Manuscript No. BSSJAR-22-82810(R); Published: Dec 30, 2022, DOI: 10.36962/GBSSJAR/59.3.001

About the Study

Economic anthropology seeks to explain human economic behavior in its broadest historical, geographic, and cultural context. It has a complicated relationship with economics, of which it is highly critical. Its roots as a subfield of anthropology can be traced back to the Polish-British founder of anthropology, Bronisaw Malinowski, and his French colleague, Marcel Mauss, discussing the nature of gift-giving exchange as an alternative to market exchange. Economic Anthropology is still primarily concerned with exchange. In contrast, the Marxian school of thought known as Political Economy focuses on production. Economic anthropologists have abandoned the primitivism niche that economists assigned them and are now examining corporations, banks, and the global financial system from an anthropological standpoint.

Political economy

Political economy in anthropology is the application of historical materialism's theories and methods to traditional anthropological concerns, including, but not limited to, non-capitalist societies. Political economy brought historical and colonial questions into historical anthropological theories of social structure and culture. Three major areas of interest emerged quickly. The first of these areas was concerned with "pre-capitalist" societies that were subject to "tribal" evolutionary stereotypes.

Application of anthropological

The application of anthropological method and theory to the analysis and solution of practical problems is referred to as applied anthropology. It is defined as a "complex of related, research-based, instrumental methods that produce change or stability in specific cultural systems through data provision, direct action initiation, and policy formulation." The practical side of anthropological research is known as applied anthropology, and it includes researcher involvement and activism within the participating community. It is linked to development anthropology.


This anthropology of development differs from development anthropology. The application of anthropological perspectives to the multidisciplinary field of development studies is referred to as development anthropology. It prioritizes international development and international aid. In this branch of anthropology, the term development refers to the social action taken by various agents in an attempt to change the economic, technical, political, and social life of a specific location in the world, particularly in impoverished, formerly colonized areas.

Development anthropologists are committed to both criticizing and contributing to projects and institutions that create and manage Western projects aimed at improving the economic well-being of the most marginalized people and eliminating poverty. While some theorists distinguish between "development anthropology" and "anthropology of development," this distinction is becoming increasingly obsolete.

Early approaches to development

Some describe the anthropological critique of development as one that pits modernization against indigenous culture eradication, but this is overly simplistic and does not apply to the majority of scholarly work. In fact, most anthropologists working in impoverished areas want the same economic relief for the people they study as policymakers, but they are sceptical of the assumptions and models that underpin development interventions. Anthropologists and others who criticize development projects see Western development as a product of Western culture that needs to be refined in order to better serve those it claims to help. The issue is thus not one of markets driving out culture, but of fundamental flaws in Western developmental culture itself. Thus, criticism frequently focuses on the cultural biases and blind spots of Western development institutions or modernization models that: systematically portray non-Western societies as more deficient than the West; mistakenly assume that Western modes of production and historical processes are repeatable in all contexts; or fail to account for hundreds of years of colonial exploitation by the West, which has tended to destroy the resources of former colonial powers. Most importantly, anthropologists argue that in order to improve development, the people who the project aims to reach must be involved in the project's creation, management, and decision-making processes.