Economic anthropology: four filmed talks by Alan Macfarlane (2005)

It is always worth starting with a good text-book of anthropology to get an overview on theories and debates. I recommend:

C.Hann, Social Anthropology (1998), based on many years teaching economics and politics in Cambridge [hereafter cited as Hann]
George Dalton, Tribal and Peasant Economies (1967)(a useful reader with a wide range of theoretical and case studies) [hereafter cited as Dalton]
Edward E.LeClair and Harold K. Schneider, Economic Anthropology (1968) (another useful reader with theory and case studies). [hereafter cited as Leclair & Schneider]
Marshall Sahlins, Stone Age Economics (1974) – a classic [hereafter cited as Sahlins]

For specific topics it is almost always worth starting with The Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences (1968) editions which usually contains useful overviews and can be found in the Haddon Library. Also there are some very useful articles in Tim Ingold (ed), The Companion Encyclopaedia of Anthropology (1994).


1. Production of Wealth

2. Distribution of Wealth

3. Exchange of Wealth

4. Consumption, technology and final overview


Other films on

You will find a great deal of materials illustrating the lectures under the section ‘Global History’ on my web-site.

If you have time, have a look under ‘Narrations’ at a six-part (50 minutes per part) history of the world over the last ten thousand years, which is centred on technology and economy, but relates them to culture, society, ideology etc.

There are discussions of the central themes in an extended seminar under ‘Conversations’.

And there are dozens of shorter films on many aspects of economy and technology, filmed on location around the world, under ‘Explorations’.