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BEROSE ENCYCLOPAEDIA

Gudeman, Stephen (1939- )

Stephen Gudeman, born in Chicago (1939) to a secular Jewish family, is a major figure in economic anthropology. He began his studies in the interdisciplinary department of social relations at Harvard University. After graduating in 1961, he received the prestigious Marshall Scholarship to study social anthropology at Cambridge University, where Edmund Leach was one of his most prominent professors. He received his PhD in 1970, after obtaining a master’s degree from Harvard Business School. In 1969, he joined the University of Minnesota, where he remained for four decades. He conducted a series of field surveys in Latin America, focusing mainly on aspects of the peasant economy. Taking a comparative perspective of economics as a cultural phenomenon, he seeks to understand its local dimensions, including analysis of the world of high finance and global markets. Gudeman places the household at the centre of the rituals and economic principles that people implicitly implement, whether the people of Chiapas in Mexico, a village in the lowlands of Panama or the Colombian Andes, where his research has led him. He is the author of nine books, including ethnographic monographs and books of theory and synthesis, such as Anthropology and Economy (2016). Gudeman’s unique outlook offers another perspective on the universality of capitalism and puts economic anthropology at the centre of debates on the very future of humanity.

Keywords: Social and cultural anthropology | Mexico | Colombia | Panama | United States of America | Capitalism | Economic anthropology