Chapter

Political Economy: The Desire and Needs of Present and Future Generations

Sylvana Tomaselli

in Inventing Human Science

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 1995 | ISBN: 9780520200104
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520916227 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520200104.003.0010
Political Economy: The Desire and Needs of Present and Future Generations

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We are rich in knowledge of the history of political economy. However, this chapter asks: Have we the history of an invention? Have we the history of two inventions, of two epistemic watersheds? The chapter suggests that the notion of invention and the quest for founding fathers is a potentially hazardous intellectual activity. It favors the search for discontinuities and can lead to distortions about the context in which particular schools of thought emerged before being institutionalized as disciplines or becoming formalized discourses about certain topics, such as the economy or population. Neither in the case of political economy nor in that of demography is the notion of invention entirely fruitful.

Keywords: Enlightenment; human science; political economy; innovation; invention

Chapter.  15230 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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