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Note 10.docx

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Anne- Marie Colpron

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Question: Do hunter-gatherer bands live in a precarious way, always looking for food in a continuous starvation state?  Portrayed as always looking for food/ prey o Living in a harsh environment  desert and almost no water “The original affluent society” (M. Sahlins) o In hunter-gatherer bands, only 20 hours of work a week is necessary to gather enough food for 10 days o Led this anthropologist to say that the hunter-gatherers were “the original affluent society”  they only need to work 20 hours while we (modern) work 40 Instead of poor o They are societies of leisure: they have a lot of free time to spend with their kids o They are well nourished, having a balanced diet: they can even be picky about what they chose to eat Sexual division of labour  well portrayed in film o Women gather (70% of their diet) o Men hunt (30% of their diet) Questions: Why from out Western point of view do we consider them poor? How do we define wealth? o For us: material belongings, having diverse things Wealth/Affluence o There are 2 different ways of creating wealth  By producing more  By desiring less Need a vague concept o We can satisfy the need of hunger: by eating rice and beans or steak and shrimps o In the western world: we valorize quantity and diversity o Among the !Kung San: having enough to satisfy hunger and sharing with kim  Anthropology compares and seeks for the different definitions of wealth from diff perspectives Question: are material possessions a universal measure of wealth and poverty? o No  ethnocentric o Herd Man: to be rich means to be well integrated in a community. To be poor is to be isolated Economic anthropology o Not all societies set the same economical priorities o Different societies use different principles to organize their economic life o Economic processes cannot be considered apart from cultural institutions in which they are embedded Capitalist system o Obtaining the most possible at the smallest possible cost o Relatively recent cultural invention o Not all societies follow this system o Making the capitalist system the prototype of human rationality is ethnocentric and reductionist Marcel Mauss  French o Created the Gift exchange theory (given and counter given)  Instead of buying with money, you give and the receiver feels bad so they give Contrasting different economic systems o Egalitarian societies  Gift exchange (economy): reciprocity & redistribution  D
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