Cfp: “Marshall Sahlins’s ‘Stone Age Economics’, a Semicentenary Estimate”

In 1972, American anthropologist Marshall Sahlins published Stone Age Economics. Now a classic of modern anthropology, and probably the most important work in economic anthropology, the book had a profound and critical impact on many different social sciences. From the identification and original use of the category of the mode of production to the idea of primitive affluence; from a vision of exchanges as defined also, and decisively, by their social terms to an illuminating interpretation of Mauss’s The Gift as the discover of the non-contractual element of the social contract; from the development of a cultural perspective on the economy and the alternative it provided to the economicism of formalist anthropology, with the proposal of an “anthropological economics”; the surprising modernity of Stone Age Economics provides social scientists with extremely fertile and inspiring ideas and approaches, whose continuing relevance is beyond dispute.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary, the Annals of the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi. An Interdisciplinary Journal of Economics, History and Political Science ( will host a monographic issue on Marshall Sahlins’s Stone Age Economics (“A Semicentenary Estimate”), to be published in 2021.

The mission of the Annals of the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi (which builds upon the tradition of cultural openness fostered by the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi di Torino, established in 1964 by the scholar of political theory at Cornell University Mario Einaudi, with the support of the family of economist and former President of the Italian Republic Luigi Einaudi) is to contribute to promote interdisciplinarity as a method of scientific inquiry and a highly relevant issue in social sciences. It aims at facilitating communication and interdisciplinary discourse among both established international scholars and younger scholars working in different fields of social sciences. The enormous importance of Stone Age Economics for social sciences as a whole makes it particularly suitable for an interdisciplinary discussion of the kind of those the Annals are intended to host.

The special issue will include invited articles by leading scholars in anthropology and other social sciences – Sahlins himself will contribute with a paper – as well as peer-reviewed works received through this call for papers. Papers are therefore solicited across a range of disciplines – including anthropology, sociology, economics, philosophy, history, political science, and international relations.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • primitive “affluence”;
  • scarcity, abundancy and sufficiency: material wants and desires;
  • exchange and reciprocity as social norms;
  • the political anthropology and philosophy of gift-giving;
  • the construction of an anthropological economics;
  • sociobiology and cultural evolution;
  • criticism of the new formalist approaches in anthropology;
  • criticism of the human behavioural anthropology.

Submission procedure

We invite interested scholars from all social disciplines to submit an abstract (300 words, 3 to 5 keywords) by October 30, 2019 to
The editors of the special issue, namely Mario Cedrini and Roberto Marchionatti, will review the abstracts and send notifications of acceptance or rejection by November 30.

The special issue will include up to 8 contributions among those received through the call for papers. Final papers (about 8000 words) will be due on March 31, 2020. Please note that acceptance of abstracts does not necessarily imply acceptance of the paper for the special issue.

For further information (including aim and scope of the Journal), please refer to the Journal’s website.