Sc2218 lecture 7 (2010)

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Lecture 7: Economics and Exchange

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Sc2218 lecture 7 (2010)

  1. 1. SC2218: Anthropology and the Human Condition Lecture 7: Economics and Exchange Eric C. Thompson Semester 1, 2010/2011 MONEY
  2. 2. Where Are We Going? <ul><li>Part 1: What is Anthropology? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strangers Abroad, Race, Culture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Part 2: What do Anthropologists Study? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Kinship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Part 3: Current Debates and Trends </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Representing Others, The Poetry of Culture, World Anthropologies </li></ul></ul>YOU ARE HERE
  3. 3. Outline of the Lecture <ul><li>The Myth of Scarcity </li></ul><ul><li>Exchange Exercise </li></ul><ul><li>“ Cultural” basis of economics & exchange. </li></ul><ul><li>Exchange in Cultural Context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hxaro Exchange (Dobe Ju/’hoansi) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potlatch (Native North America) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kula Ring (Trobriand Islands) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wholesale Sushi (Tokyo, Japan) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The Myth of Scarcity (and why it matters) <ul><li>Foragers have a generally easier life that people in agricultural and industrial societies. </li></ul><ul><li>Foragers work 20-40 hours a week; We work 60-80 hours a week. </li></ul><ul><li>Foragers are healthier and have longer life expectancies than agriculturalists. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why it matters . . . <ul><li>It calls into question the idea that agriculture and industry emerged to “ meet basic needs ” (Foragers needs are met already!) </li></ul><ul><li>Something else is going on… </li></ul><ul><li>That something else is social relationships , based on exchange , and mediated by culture ! </li></ul>
  6. 6. Exchange Exercise <ul><li>Write NAME on Paper and Name Tag </li></ul><ul><li>Walk around the room to find exchange partners. Exchange only ONCE with any one person. You will have about 15 min. </li></ul><ul><li>When exchange do the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Put 0 or 1 or 2 beads in your closed hand. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pump your fist 3 times </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open your hand and exchange. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Record the name of the person and the nett number of beads you lost or gained. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Exchange Examples <ul><li>Ann gives 1 bead, Bob gives 2 beads: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ann writes “Bob (1)” under “Gained” column </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bob writes “Ann (1)” under “Lost” column </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ann gives 2 beads; Bob gives 0 beads: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ann writes “Bob (2)” under “Lost” column </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bob writes “Ann (2)” under “Gained” column </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ann and Bob both give 1 or 2 beads. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Write the other’s name under “Even Exchange” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ann and Bob both give 0 beads </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Write nothing; no exchange has occurred! </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Economics and Exchange <ul><li>Economics: study of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. </li></ul><ul><li>Economy: system of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. </li></ul><ul><li>Exchange: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Distributing Goods and Services AND </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating/Enacting Relationships among People </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AND Production of VALUE </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. What is Cultural about Economics and Exchange? <ul><li>Economic systems do not just meet “basic needs” (foragers do that without exchange). Something more is going on. </li></ul><ul><li>People enact relationships based on beliefs and knowledge without understanding the ‘whole’ system (e.g. kula ring; stock brokers) </li></ul><ul><li>If modern economies are based on rational laws of supply and demand, why bother with “culture” in studying economics? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Exchange in Cultural Contexts <ul><li>!Xharo exchange (Dobe Ju/’hoansi) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lee, Chapter </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Potlatch (Northwest Native American) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Shackles of Tradition” (film on Franz Boas) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Kula Ring (Trobriand Islands) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Off the Veranda” (film on Malinowski) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wholesale Sushi (Tsukiji, Japan) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ted Bestor (reading pack) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Branding (Global Capitalism; Coca-cola) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Robert Foster, Cultural Anthropology Vol. 22(4), 2007 (optional reading) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Hxaro Exchange: Basic Lessons in Gift Giving <ul><li>Hxaro is “a delayed form of nonequivalent gift exchange”… why? </li></ul><ul><li>The delay and nonequivalency ensure that the exchange is perpetuated . . . </li></ul><ul><li>The value is not in the things but in the social relationship . </li></ul><ul><li>Social relationships are crucial in all kinds of ways. (Our Exchange Exercise) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Potlatch (See film: “Shackles of Traditions”) <ul><li>Potlatch is a term associated with Native Americans (Northwest). But practiced in many places. </li></ul><ul><li>Giving away, sometimes destroying, wealth. </li></ul><ul><li>Redistribution of wealth. </li></ul><ul><li>Display and production of status. </li></ul><ul><li>How does this compare to “conspicuous consumption”? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Off the Veranda <ul><li>What key contributions did Malinowski make to anthropology? </li></ul><ul><li>How did Malinowski understand the role of magic (especially as compared to Evans-Pritchard)? </li></ul><ul><li>How do the exchange relationships in the KULA RING of Pacific Islanders (Film: Off the Veranda ) and the POTLATCH of Northwest Coast Native Americans (Film: Shackles of Tradition ) compare to HXARO exchange relationships among the Dobe Ju/’hoansi (Lee)? How do they compare to exchange relationships in contemporary Singapore? </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Kula Ring: Lesson in Complexity If I live here I trade necklaces to get armshells from these people I trade armshells to get necklaces from these people We all know the rules; But none of us may understand the system!
  15. 15. Kula Ring as a Complex Cultural System <ul><li>Individuals on each island act on their own desires (to get high status items) based on a set of cultural rules. </li></ul><ul><li>These interactions create a complex system of exchanges and social relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>It is possible that no individual in the system understands “the whole system”. </li></ul>
  16. 16. “ Wholesale Sushi” <ul><li>Tsukiji Fish market </li></ul><ul><li>History </li></ul><ul><li>Social Organization </li></ul><ul><li>Food Culture (What is “Japanese” Food?) </li></ul><ul><li>Industrialization </li></ul><ul><li>Domesticity (Family/Kinship) and Cuisine </li></ul><ul><li>Authenticity, the “Invention of Tradition” </li></ul><ul><li>Temporal Patterns (“Time to Eat”) </li></ul><ul><li>Tradescapes, Culinaryscapes, “Webs of Significance” </li></ul>
  17. 17. Toro (Tuna Belly) <ul><li>How is “value” created? </li></ul><ul><li>Before the 1950s, toro was “not fit for cats”? </li></ul><ul><li>Now, toro is considered premium sushi. </li></ul><ul><li>How did this happen? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Practical Application and Food for Thought <ul><li>What kinds of exchanges to you participate in? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think of shopping at 7-11, birthday presents, little red packets, what else??) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is important in these, the people you are exchanging with or the things being exchanged? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Next time you are standing in line at Fair Price, 7-11 or wherever, look at what you are buying. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflect on “Wholesale Sushi”. Can you imagine all the cultural meanings and social relationships that brought the thing you are buying to market? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pay attention to the clerk at the register. Have you ever considered your social relationship with him/her? </li></ul></ul>

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