Richard Wilk's Articles and Papers Online

Most everything here has been published previously.

You can get precise references on the Resume page.

If one of these papers interests you, please contact me, and I will try to send you related work.

When Good Theories Go Bad

How important is Theory in Economic Anthropology? This paper suggests that theoretical consistency is often dangerous, and an impediment to good empirical research. I contrast the use of theory by Consumer Researchers and Anthropologists studying consumption. Presented at the 1998 Society for Economic Anthropology Meetings, and the 1998 American Anthropological Association.

Sustainable Development: Practical, Ethical, and Social Issues in Technology Transfer

This paper discusses some of the contradictions and possibilities encompassed within the concept of "sustainability." It identifies some of the key variables that affect the outcome of technology transfer, and addresses ethical and political issues that affect the sustainability of both indigenous and innovative technologies. The paper argues that the social context of the introduction and use of a technology is as important as the physical and economic characteristics of the technology itself. A collaborative methodology for generation of new technologies based on both indigenous and scientific knowledge is discussed. Building on older concepts of appropriate technology, the concept of "hybrid technology" is proposed and developed through a series of examples.


Disgust, Distaste and Dislike

Is dislike the mirror of desire? Or is it something else? More interesting, more complex? Published in Consumption, Marketing and Culture in 1997.

Emerging Linkages In the World System and the Challenge to Economic Anthropology

The world is changing in ways that make the old styles of village studies look inadequate. This paper got people at the Society for Economic Anthropology MAD. I told them that a lot of their studies follow the same old mythical structures, telling the same tired stories over and over.

Sustainable Development: Practical, Ethical, and Social Issues in Technology Transfer

A paper I gave at a UNESCO meeting in Japan. Tired of the same old bullshit about sustainability? I show that what makes anything sustainable is the social context - a group of people who are committed to each other and a rewarding goal. I suggest some ways to make people-centered development more practical and effective too.


Imports and Social Distinctions in Belize: From Colonialism to Consumerism

The results of some of my work in Belize on the history of consumption and consumerism. Discusses the history of the national dish, rice and beans, and the way imports have increased dramatically over time. Presented at a conference in Lancaster, England in March of 1998.


Miss World Belize: Beauty and the Politics of Pageantry

A paper originally presented at the AAA meetings in 1994, this gives a brief summary of the kinds of work I have done on beauty pageants in Belize, thinking particularly about the relationship between local and global culture.

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This page last updated on December 1, 1998