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Lecture 8

Lecture 8.docx

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Bryan Cummins

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9Anthropology 1A03 November 9 , 2011 Other information:   If you have any ideas you want to foster come to OPIRG. If you are interested in doing research, contact the office. Contact: Randy Economic systems: o Cross culturally we couldn’t talk about economics because not all human societies deal with dollars and cents. Out cross cultural understanding of economics, looks at economics in this way: o Process: Resources Goods and Services Distributions Resources (includes: land (land itself and what is above and below land), technology (not simply material objects, but knowledge in terms of what goes into tech/how to use technology- In hunting societies individuals own tools, in our society- illusion that everybody has access to technology and to knowledge etc. Illusion of equal access to resources that are not quite there.) Resources are then converted into…  Goods and Services: That are considered either desirable or necessary and then we have to distribute these goods and services. All societies recognize a divisions of labour based on age and sex. Major distinction between western society and non-western, here in the west children get away with a lot, in other societies, children’s assume responsibilities much younger than here, they learn their roles as they are doing this.  Distributions (within the population): 3 Categories of distribution 1) Reciprocity: the exchange of goods and services without the benefit of money. Reciprocity thus defined sustains all relationships. It broadly defined reciprocity implies 3 sets of obligations: i. To give ii. To receive iii. To reciprocate There are 3 types of Reciprocity: I. Generalized: when somebody gives something to someone else with no conscience thought of return. It is universal. I.e. In hunting societies such as the Cree  Where does kinship and descent come into all this? Generalized reciprocity is generally practiced amongst close friends and family. ii. Balanced: short-term exchange of goods and services conventionally understood to be items of equal value. It is immediate in its exchange.  Occurs between/among people of roughly equal status who may be related to you, but not close family kin. Not immediate family. iii. Negative: Oxymoronic. A deliberate attempt at deception. I.e. Bull  Conducted between strangers and enemies, people you do not really like. 2) Redistribution: Needs some kind of hierarchy, found primarily in chiefdoms and in our own society in the form of taxation. Refers to accumulation of goods and services- money by a central person/ a central place- and then these goods and services are redistributed amongst the population. Best-documented example: Potlatch was and is practiced by North West Coast Nations. Unique cultural phenomenon that is a huge ceremony that is held by the chief. Chief can say in four months we will hold a potlatch, in a chiefdom (Multiple Choice Question) the chiefs primary role is economic. Chief gives gifts that reflect the esteem in which he wishes to be held by the recipient. It reasserts the chiefs position as a head of the chiefdom (he is chief based on lineage, it reaffirms social structure/social solidarity). It also creates alliances between the host village and the guest village, helps perpetuate art. Potlatch is a primary means of redistribution, (On exam Q47)… A leveling mechanism, why? Be cause the purpose of potlatch is not the accumulation of wealth/goods, the purpose is to give it all away, it guarantees that nobody is too wealthy for too long. …Reciprocity works perfectly well when people know each other, works well in small-scale societies. 3) Market Exchange: We live in a state society- we have a number of characteristics: 1) Specialization 2) High populations and dense populations: We need some medium of exchange; this is money. Money presumably, we all have a sense of a value of a dollar. So, when we go to a lawyer and say I need your services, and my fee is 200 dollars an hour, we can do the math in our heads and say and similarly we know that we can purchase something within our ballpark. Money has number of qualities; there is a conventional understanding of what it is worth, money has anonymity (doesn’t matter who you are- money will open doors for you- money doesn’t care what you do), and money is portable. In state societies, where all these occupations exist- money is
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