Simone Ghezzi
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On the social (dis-)embedding of the economy in a local context
Where anthropology and sociology share metaphors as analytical tools
in Western capitalism in transition
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This chapter argues that the sociological interest in anthropological concepts and the renewed interest of anthropology in Western economies through ethnographic investigation may generate a terrain upon which further and fruitful collaboration can be established. It provides insights as to how shifting values and new social arrangements may have initiated 'dis-embedding' processes from which 're-embedding' mechanisms are yet to be seen in their entirety. The dis-embedding/embedding mechanism of the double movement operates at different levels: it can make sense of both a large-scale event, as well as the dynamics in small-scale settings. Versatility makes the analytical tool adaptable both in sociology and anthropology. Abstract theoretical tools were turned into methodological concepts to reveal the extent of the embeddedness of the economy in contemporary societies. The chapter shows how the Polanyian metaphors shed new light on work-related social practices and their meaning in an Italian setting, the Brianza.

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Western capitalism in transition

Global processes, local challenges


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