A person who advocates a doctrine, system, or method of analysis founded on experience, evidence, and observation, in preference to theory; (Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, and Economics) an opponent of the application of formal economic theories to precapitalist cultures.
Applied especially to the followers of Karl Polanyi (1886–1964), Austrian-born philosopher and economist, who argued that economic processes are shaped by a society's individual cultural and social institutions, and hence that capitalist models cannot be applied to non-market economies.
Adhering to, proposing, or representing such a doctrine or method.
1940s; earliest use found in Mind. From substantive + -ist.