Competition is a central phenomenon in our society, with economic competition as a dominating and almost “imperialistic” function of very many kinds of competition. Such competition involves human beings. What then is the relationship between competition and anthropology? That is the main topic of this book. What is at stake, anthropologically, in a competitive society? True humanity? The intention of the book is to shed critical light on competition in society more generally and on the anthropological presuppositions and aspects of competition more specifically. A definition of competition is given, with particular reference to Georg Simmel’s and Michael Fielding’s work. Anthropology is understood according to the Swedish theologian Anders Jeffner. He distinguishes between a descriptive understanding and a more normative, empirically open, holistic, and speculative understanding. A Christian and humanist anthropology are of this kind. The material used in this book comes from many different sources: anthropology and competition as understood in economic thinking, historical and recent viewpoints, perspectives from social and cultural anthropological fields, and material from philosophical and theological traditions. The breadth of the material implies a huge interdisciplinary challenge. The topic, however, requires such an approach. The method is systematic, inspired by philosophical and theological positions. The systematic discourse also includes descriptive and normative elements. By identifying what competition, economic competition, and anthropology are about, and the values and norms upon which they are built, the systematic evaluation of competition as a social and anthropological phenomenon can start.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and SocietyOsloNorway

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