Definitions from The Routledge Encyclopedia ofSocial and Cultural Anthropology Hande Işık METU ID 501 Literature Review
Outline• Capitalism• Consumption• Political Economy• Technology• Time and Space
CAPITALISM1. Production for a global market in which goods, services and labour are priced in which ownership is private and alienable, and profits are sought in market exchanges, making available for further investment2. A particular system of socioeconomic organization (contrasted with feudalism and socialism)• The acquisitive spirit of profit-making enterprise focused on developments occurring in the 16th, 17th and early 18th centuries.
CAPITALISM AS AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY IN THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT• Fieldwork conducted among peasants after WW2• France, British social anthropologists asked if – The structure of inequality had preceded capitalist economic development – Capitalist modes of production were substantially different from those that did not make profits. (Shift of field)
CAPITALISM AS AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY IN THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT• Money, commodity, religious resistance and identity formation through the construction of mass markets break out of the easy definitions of capitalism• Gender studies, corruption, smuggling, trade in illegal substances, inter ethnic conflicts, resistance and rebellion were studied within the concept of capitalism
CAPITALISM AS AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY IN THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT• Contemporary capitalism stimulates three modes of corporate organization: – Those organized for profit – Those which govern – The non-profitmaking• For Marx, capitalism = ‘mode of production’ made by two classes of producers: – The capitalists, own the means of production (capital or land), make the strategic day-to-day economic decisions on technology, output and marketing, and appropriate the profits of production and distribution. – The labourers, who own no property but are free to dispose of their labour for wages on terms which depend on the numbers seeking work and the demand for their services.
CONSUMPTION• Consumption is the meaningful use people make of the objects that are associated with them. The use can be mental or material; the objects can be things, ideas or relationships; the association can range from ownership to contemplation. *Very important term for our project outcomes
BASIS OF CONSUMPTION• Needs have a material basis, but need and demand reflect social relationships which define social identities.• Objects carry significant social meanings. The meanings pronounced in the West with the rise of capitalism and mass production; – West became a consumer society• In capitalist societies, individuals transform objects from being impersonal commodities into things with distinctive meanings for the consumers and distinct places in the consumers’ social lives.• For individuals the first step in consumption is appropriation, establishing a mental association with the objects to be consumed.
BASIS OF CONSUMPTION• Ex. The clothes one wears can be important for defining one’s – Gender, social rank, ethnic identity and a host of other social attributes.• Cumulatively, the structure of consumption reflects and recreates the identities of social groups that consume in distinctive ways• Consumption creates the distinction between different entities like classes
BASIS OF CONSUMPTION• Spread of western consumables into 3rd World countries lead to homogeneous Westernization national hybrids• Hybrids consist of interpretations and adaptations of Western products developed and shared by indigenous people themselves. Common national consumption communities that displace pre-existing subnational or colonial patterns, and so are important in creating the nation itself as a social and cultural entity. – Mc Donalds vs Pitte• Researchers tend to investigate the ways that people impose meaning on the objects in their lives. Pre-existing meanings affect those who consume the objects that carry them.
POLITICAL ECONOMY• ‘Political’ +‘Economy’ invention of the concept of capitalism.• The term came into use in the 18th century and meant the measures taken by governments to regulate trade, exchange, money and taxes (SSE)• Analogical difference: ‘economy’ is in a family, political economy is in a state.• Based on experience with expanding industrial capitalism, scholars argued that capitalism did not simply adjust to, but positively required, crisis. The endurance of political economy owes much to its emergence within capitalism as a discourse on crisis.• Status emulation, class formation, demographic change, female purity, the seclusion of women and dowry systems as liquid wealth in regional spheres of exchange are all linked in the analysis of the changing social topographies.
POLITICAL ECONOMY• Engels argued that the new economic thinking, favouring competition and free trade, which began by not questioning private property, was guilty of covering up the fact that capitalism necessarily led to social and economic evils.• By political economy Marx meant the body of science of economic thinking
TECHNOLOGY• Technology can be defined as the particular domain of human activity. it refers to: – Physical objects or artefacts, for example, a car. – Activities or processes—the system of car production, the pattern of organization around vehicle technologies, the behaviour and expectations of car users. – The knowledge and skills.
• ‘Natural’ technical actions – like walking, carrying a load or giving birth can vary from culture to culture, it has become clear that every technique is a social production learnt through tradition.• Techniques (or material culture) are embedded with all kinds of social relations, practices and representations.• They are solely for their effect on the material life of society or for the social relations surrounding their application.• Techniques always have a systemic elements: matter, energy, artefacts, gestures and a specific knowledge (representations) – and these elements interact.
• Technical behaviour has two related functions: – a physical one, – one which communicates information and plays a symbolic role in social life• Social representations of action on the material world appear as the most important link between technology, culture and society, – Because any technique, a gesture, a simple artefact, is always a physical manifestation of mental schema of how things work, how they are to be made, and how they are to be used• Social representations of technology are embedded in a broad symbolic system: people and societies put meaning into the very creation, production, and development of technology techniques as well as make meaning out of existing technical elements
• Societies seize, adopt or develop only some technical features (principles of action, artefacts, gestures), and dismiss others, because technical actions and changes in technology are in part determined by, and simultaneously the basis for, social representations or relations that go far beyond mere action on matter.• Invention is a process of discovery and creation of ideas and things. no society lives in total isolation, so borrowing technical features always exists.
TIME AND SPACE• Durkheim: Time and space can only be conceived reflecting the social structure of particular societies.• Awareness of extension as space and duration as time is only possible by distinguishing different regions and moments and by encountering their associated boundaries and intervals. These divisions and distinctions have their origins in social and collective life. ‘We cannot conceive of time, except on condition of distinguishing its different moments … It is the same thing with space’ (Durkheim• In cultures where time is represented and experienced predominantly as repetitive, it is conceived of as static. Life is merely an alternation between two contrasting states, and time has no depth, no beginning or end. Geertz (1973) has, for example, argued that given, among other things, their complex calendar, for the Balinese time is ‘a motionless present, a vectorless now’.• Social anthropologists study time as a matter of cultural representations.