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This symposium analyses the mutually constitutive relationship between economic knowledge and political order. Through a wide range of case studies from Europe, Africa…
This symposium analyses the mutually constitutive relationship between economic knowledge and political order. Through a wide range of case studies from Europe, Africa, and Latin America, the essays collected shed new light on the choices and constraints faced by economists under authoritarian rule in the twentieth century. The contribution of the symposium is twofold. Firstly, it expands the geographical and chronological scope of the conversation on the politics of economics. Secondly, it encourages a more nuanced understanding of economists’ agency in their different guises as educators, party propagandists, policy-makers, model-builders, and dissidents.
The chapter reconstructs the methodological trajectory of Polly Hill. Crossing the boundaries between economics and anthropology, Hill’s work was simultaneously an…
The chapter reconstructs the methodological trajectory of Polly Hill. Crossing the boundaries between economics and anthropology, Hill’s work was simultaneously an epistemic challenge to development economics, and a testimony to the complexity and richness of economic life in what she called the “rural tropical world.” Drawing inspiration from the process that Mary Morgan referred to as “seeking parts, looking for wholes,” the chapter explores the evolving relationship between observational practice and conceptual categories in Hill’s work on West Africa and India. It is argued that fieldwork, the central element in Hill’s methodological reflection, served two main functions. Firstly, it acted as the cornerstone of her views on observation and induction, framing her understanding of the relationship between “parts” and “wholes.” Secondly, Hill used fieldwork as a narrative trope to articulate her hopeful vision for an integration of economics and anthropology, and later express her feelings of distance and alienation from the ways in which these disciplines were actually practiced.
Reflections on this special issue draw three themes out of the papers: the problem of fashioning the tools of science; the variability of life that poses challenges to scientific investigation; and the importance of space in myriad different ways to how we think about life. Although these themes may appear disconnected, they are in fact finely woven in various ways into the volume’s discussions, which range over science studies (broadly conceived) as well as economic history.
This introduction to the Symposium “Curiosity, Imagination, and Surprise” discusses some of the characteristics of Mary Morgan’s approach to study science, which she…
This introduction to the Symposium “Curiosity, Imagination, and Surprise” discusses some of the characteristics of Mary Morgan’s approach to study science, which she labels as “naturalized philosophy of science.” One of these characteristics is the usage of a carefully chosen vocabulary. These concepts are usually unconventional and open-ended with the aim of illuminating the practice under study. Another characteristic of her approach is that it is curiosity-driven, which becomes clear by the kind of typical questions she asks. A third characteristic is that her approach is case-study based, with its typical features, such as the investigation of a bounded “real-life” whole, its attitude of open-endedness, the usage of multiple research methods and its complex, often-narrated outcome.