In the longer version of this paper I flesh out why I think that it was not globalized capitalism that made Herskovits redundant but rather focus on world history early civilizations and empires pdf nationalism that undermined Herskovits and Malinowski and Firth. In this post I’ll provide some of that paper’s conclusions.
Social anthropology provided a model that supported, in a mostly ideological fashion, a form of economic trusteeship. It is almost impossible to measure its policy impact. In fact, social anthropologists’ support for protectionism amounted to a form of anti-policy. League Mandate, according to a social scientist sceptical of colonialism and who had an instinctive aversion to white settlers, was to lobby hard for protectionism and promote some measure of self-determination in political, legal and economic life. After 1945, the best option for the self-determination of places like Papua would become national independence. In the postwar era, the politics of nationalism became, for many reformers, the best means to secure the independence of those peoples subject to colonisation.
1930s, just at the moment that social anthropology was being successfully institutionalised in the universities. But it was the advent of Keynesianism that transformed this mechanistic model into our current conception: a bounded unit subject to externalities whose oscillations transform a static system into a dynamic whole. This model had strong connections to the politics of the nation state. In fact, Mitchell argues, the national economy was constituted through, and by, this new discourse.
The model gained significant strength in the postwar years. The national economy model offered a way to coordinate political forces and the movement of materials and people as former colonial powers, international experts and newly independent states sought to boost economic output in a race away from dependency and towards a new international order. But it is important to be aware of the origins of these ideas in the inter-war period, of the particular colonial politics of their creation, and the implications of protectionism, and shades of paternalism, they hold within them. Even if their ideas have proved to be hugely influential, inter-war Social Anthropologists became easy to caricature in the 1960s. They were increasingly seen as imperialist shills by Marxists, boosters of development and formerly colonised peoples. Those theories that seemed so promising for promoting the self-determination and welfare of colonised peoples in the inter-war era began to accrue very different implications when they were transposed into the post-war years.
Fabians, social democrats and socialists not only in metropolitan think tanks and development agencies but in formerly colonized countries too. The economy was something that could be planned. In fact, planning and the economy went hand in hand. The economy’ became a way to coordinate political action in opposition to dependency as part of a world of empires, as the St Lucian born Arthur Lewis recognised and as he tried to act out in his role as an economic advisor to the newly independent Ghana in 1957.