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Lecture 9

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ANTA02 Lecture9 DistributionandExchange - Karl Polyani defined 3 basic modes of distribution/exchange. 1) Reciprocity 2) Redistribution 3) Market exchange - In most societies we find a mix of all three of them, but sometimes there ae cultutres who have one single system out of these three. RECIPROCITY - Informal exchange of goods and labour. - Basis of small scale most non-market and non-industrial societies, but common to all. - Powerful form of exchange that creates and emphasizes social relationships. - Marcel Mauss (1872-1950) - The Gift(1923). This is an ethnology of cross-cultural gift giving traditions. - Gift economies of small-scale societies contrasted with commodity exchanges. - Explores the way that the reciprocal exchange of objects between groups builds relationships between humans - no such thing as a free gift. - It is a very powerful form of transaction and it can be used in many strategic ways. - Distinguished between 3 obligations: - Giving: the necessary initial step for the creation and maintanence of social relationships. - Receiving: for to refuse to recieve is to reject the social relationship. - Reciprocating: in order to demonstrate ones own prestige, honour and wealth. - 3 main types: 1) Generalized: Someone gives and expects nothing immediate or equal value in return. Signifies close social relationship. 2) Balanced:someone gives and expects return of something of equal value. Signifies social distance. Lack of reciprocation can harm social relationship. 3) Negative: Exchange where one parties intends to benefit at expense of other. Minimum amount of social trust/ relationship. Example: Cattle Raids. THe Kula Ring - Kula exchange is a complex system of gifts and counter gifts whose rules are laid down by custom. - Kula valuables are non-use items traded purely for the purposes of enhancing one;s social status and prestige. - Exchanges establish strong ideally lifelong relationships between exchange parties. - Important chiefs can have hundreds of partnered while less significant have fewer than a dozen. - Melanesians carefully distinguish between gift exchange (Kula) and market exchange (gimvali). REDISTRIBUTION - Goods(or services) move from the local level to a center. - controlled through a hierarchy of officials who may consume some of the goods. - Eventually goods are redistrbuted- that is, they flow in the reverse direction, down through the hierarchy and back tot he local. - Often serves purpose of social security, making sure all members of group of basic necessities to survive. - Act of leveling mechanisms: sshrink gaps between rich and poor and help to limit social inequality. - Example: SOcial welafacre programs, like public health care or Employment Insurance. The Potlatch - Potlatch is a gift giving festival and primary economic system practices by indigenous peoples of the pacific Northwest Coast of Canada and the USA. - Rituals in which sponsors (assisted by members of their communities) gave away resources i exchange for greater prestige. - Banned by europeans because it was seen as “irrational and wasteful”. Barrier to Assimilation. - Shown by anthropologists to be adaptive response to alternating periods of abundance and scarcity. MARKETEXCHANGE - In capitalist economy, market principle governs distribution of means of production. - Law of supply and demand. - Transaction are made with labour, goods and services bought with money. - No lasting social relations between producer and consumer. - Karl Polanyi - European states(ENgland) were first societies to have market principle as primary force driving production and exchange. Market Society. CONSUMPTION - Consumption: Acquisition and/or use of goods. - Can serve to meet basic needs, or to highlight identity and or social status. - Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts. - Conspicuous consumption is the spending on money on goods in order to display status. - Many non-industrial societies limit consumption to subsistence goods, and discourage conspicuous consumption through informal social control - taboos and rumors, gossip witchcraft. Whatis”Political”
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