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A Hausa man makes a decision: a contribution to the anthropological perspective on decision-making


Heiss, Jan Patrick (2018). A Hausa man makes a decision: a contribution to the anthropological perspective on decision-making. Anthropological Forum, 28(3):236-254.

Abstract

In anthropology, decision-making has mainly been studied from two perspectives: rationalist and ethnographic. These approaches lack a theoretical basis which would integrate their findings in a coherent manner. Taking inspiration from Tugendhat and Berthoz, this article argues that a way out of this impasse is to conceptualise decisionmaking as an action. At the same time, this conceptualisation allows us to establish a continuum of decision-making processes from simple through complex to fundamental, and to understand these processes as malleable across milieux, societies and cultures.This article also goes beyond this by discussing the decisionmaking process that led a Hausa villager from Niger to decide not to migrate. This discussion shows that the anthropological literature has largely overlooked a type of decision that could be called a ‘maturing decision’. It also sheds light on the role of emotions in decision-making and on the constitutive role of emic ideas about decision-making in these processes.

Abstract

In anthropology, decision-making has mainly been studied from two perspectives: rationalist and ethnographic. These approaches lack a theoretical basis which would integrate their findings in a coherent manner. Taking inspiration from Tugendhat and Berthoz, this article argues that a way out of this impasse is to conceptualise decisionmaking as an action. At the same time, this conceptualisation allows us to establish a continuum of decision-making processes from simple through complex to fundamental, and to understand these processes as malleable across milieux, societies and cultures.This article also goes beyond this by discussing the decisionmaking process that led a Hausa villager from Niger to decide not to migrate. This discussion shows that the anthropological literature has largely overlooked a type of decision that could be called a ‘maturing decision’. It also sheds light on the role of emotions in decision-making and on the constitutive role of emic ideas about decision-making in these processes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
Uncontrolled Keywords:Decision-making, economic anthropology, Hausa, Niger, emotions
Language:English
Date:20 June 2018
Deposited On:15 Jan 2019 11:19
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:03
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0066-4677
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/00664677.2018.1482737

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