Economy and Knowledge

This focus area emphasizes the study of interactions between South Asian economies and societies, especially from interdisciplinary perspectives that combine historical with sociological and anthropological perspectives. Highlighting the social, cultural, and informational embeddedness of economic behaviour, research within this focus area seeks to develop a nuanced understanding of the diversity of operational grammars underlying South Asian economies, with a specific emphasis on the behavioural knowledge of how to act in and cope with the myriad challenges of economic processes. It addresses questions on commonalities and divergence between South Asian economies and the wider world by the studying the complexities within patterns of decision-making, planning, regulation, and the handling of uncertainty by various economic agents ranging from labour, capital, and institutions to workers, entrepreneurs, bureaucrats, traders, middlemen, financiers, and consumers. It focuses on the production, reproduction, and calibration of economic structures as well as on processes of imagination and reinterpretation of economic practices. Research in this focus area among many other facets studies the evolution of planning, management, and administrative gazes; it inquires into the entrepreneurial knowledge of making use of or evading regulations, or making do without them; it observes knowledges of coping with disciplining forces in the economy, or of making adjustments in furtherance of the fulfilment of aspirations. It studies technologies of calculability from the use of gossip for reputational information flows to the employment of algorithmic models of risk assessment or the exercise of religious and occult techniques of divination. It studies technologies of production, working, and subsistence, of inventing and counterfeiting, but also the knowledges of exchange – selling, buying, consuming, accounting, marketing, financing, brokering, speculating, accumulating, stealing, defaulting, and swindling. Essentially, the focus area Economy and Knowledge perceives South Asian economies as informational orders composed of a multitude of different, interlocked knowledges constantly learned and re-learned, applied and countered, categorized and rearticulated.


Poorva Rajaram

Samprati Pani

Cite this blog post
mwfdelhi (2021, November 9). Economy and Knowledge. Max Weber Forum for South Asian Studies (MWF Delhi). Retrieved May 26, 2024, from

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