ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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New Area of Research in Indian Anthropology

Business Anthropology

This article highlights the potential use of business anthropology as an effective means of studying business orgnisations in India. There have been ongoing debates among anthropologists on the present trends and crisis in Indian anthropology. Many scholars have reflected that there is an urgent need for reorienting the direction of research in anthropology in India to arrest the decline of the discipline.

The term “business anthropology” emerged as one of the popular subdisciplines in applied anthropology during the 1980s. Prior to this, the term “industrial anthropology,” “anthropology of work,” or “applied anthropology in industry” were used more frequently to denote areas of research and practice focused on business-related phenomenon. More recently, the term “business anthropology” has begun to be used more generically to refer any applications of anthropology to business-oriented problems (Baba 1986; Jordan 2013; Moeran 2013). Business anthropologists can play a key role in the business world. They can help corporations develop culturally appropriate ways of doing business with suppliers, business partners, or customers and promote smooth working relationships among employees who are more and more likely, thanks to recent equal opportunity employment legislation, to represent different age groups, ethnic groups, and both sexes (Stewart 2011).

Business and industry are fundamental structures of organising economic activity to meet basic human needs in modern market societies. Business means the buying and selling of goods and services in the marketplace, also known as commerce or trade, while industry refers to the organised production of goods and services on a large scale. These terms, when used by business anthropologists in their practice, usually are related to one or more of the three major domains of business anthropological research and practice, namely (i) anthropology related to the processing of producing goods and services and the corporate organisations in which production takes place; (ii) ethnographically-informed design of new products, services and systems for consumers and businesses, and/or (iii) anthropology related to the behaviour of consumers and the marketplace (Tian et al 2014: 123).

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Updated On : 9th Nov, 2017


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