Social and Economic Integration



As indicated in the previous chapter, Polanyi’s historical and anthropological bent had a definite, eminently practical purpose. His intent was ‘to make universal economic history the starting point of a comprehensive reconsideration of the problem of human livelihood’ (LM, p. xxxix). This is the task for further research which Polanyi set in The Great Transformation. Its completion requires that ‘general economic history be re-established on broad conceptual foundations’ (LM, p. xxxix). In this chapter, I consider, first, the method for approaching this task, institutional analysis; and, second, the conceptual foundations that result, the forms of integration. Finally, I review Marshall Sahlins’ application of this research programme to the ethnographic record of primitive economies.


Market Economy Market Exchange Economic Integration Integrative Mechanism Institutional Analysis 
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3 Social and Economic Integration

  1. 2.
    Benjamin Ward, The Conservative Economic World View (New York: Basic Books, 1979) p. 11.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    J. M. Clark, Preface to Social Economics (New York: A. M. Kelley, 1967) p. 26.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    C. E. Ayres, ‘The Legacy of Thorstein Veblen’, in Joseph Dorfman et al., Institutional Economics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1964) pp. 45–62.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    From another publication by Sahlins, I take it that the spectrum of reciprocities originates in Elman Service, The Hunters (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1966).Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Alvin Gouldner, ‘The Norm of Reciprocity: a Preliminary Statement’, American Sociological Review, 25 (1960) p. 176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© J. R. Stanfield 1986

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