Exchange and Economics in Culture Ch7

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  • 1. Chapter 7 Economics
  • 2. Questions to Ponder
    • "What power resides in a given object that causes its recipient to pay it back?"
      • M. Mauss ( 1872-1950; 1990:3).
    • Is there such a thing as a gift “freely given/recieved”?
      • James Mullooly (1964-???)
  • 3. Chapter Outline
    • Economic Systems
    • Production
    • Distribution: Systems of Exchange
    by Shirvanian, Vahan
  • 4. Economic System
    • The “part” of society that deals with production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
    • The way production is organized has consequences for the family and the political system.
    • Economics is embedded in the social process and cultural pattern.
  • 5. Economic Behavior
    • Economics is the study of how the choices people make determine how their society uses its resources to produce and distribute goods and services.
    • Economizing behavior is choosing a course of action that pursues the course of perceived maximum benefit.
  • 6. Question
    • A fundamental assumption of Western theories of microeconomics is
        • that resources are unlimited.
        • that humans primarily operate in an altruistic manner.
        • the idea that "wants" are unlimited, but means for achieving them are limited.
        • financial profit drives the vast majority of peoples' choices.
        • social obligations take precedence over material gain.
  • 7. Answer: c
    • A fundamental assumption of Western theories of microeconomics is the idea that:
      • "wants" are unlimited, but
      • means for achieving them are limited .
  • 8. Allocating Resources
    • Each society has rules to regulate access to resources:
      • Land, water, labor, and the materials from which tools are made.
    • Productive resources are used to create other goods or information:
      • Material goods, natural resources, or information.
    • Usufructory rights (e.g., mineral rights)
      • The right to use something (usually land) but not to sell it or alter it in substantial ways.
  • 9. Productive Resources and Subsistence Strategies
    • Foragers - weapons to hunt animals
    • Pastoralists - livestock and land
    • Horticulturalists - land, tools, and storage facilities
  • 10. Organizing Labor
    • In small-scale preindustrial and peasant economies, the household or some extended kin group is the basic unit of production and consumption.
    • Labor is just one aspect of membership in a social group such as the family.
    Peasants by Diego Rivera
  • 11. Organizing Labor
    • In Western society , work has very important social implications.
    • For many people, particularly members of the middle classes, work is a source of self-respect, challenge, growth, and personal fulfillment.
  • 12. Households
    • In most nonindustrial societies, production is based around the household.
    • The household is an economic unit, people united by kinship or other links who share a residence and organize production, consumption, and distribution among themselves.
  • 13. Firms
    • In industrial societies the basic unit of production is the business firm .
    • A firm is an institution that is organized primarily for financial gain.
  • 14. Sexual Division of Labor
    • Universal characteristic of society.
    • -In foraging societies, men generally hunt and women generally gather.
    -In agricultural societies, both men and women play important roles in food production.
  • 15. Question
    • The division of labor by sex is a cultural universal, but anthropologists disagree as to how much biology determines differences in sex roles between cultures.
        • True
        • False
  • 16. Answer: a - True
    • The division of labor by sex is a cultural universal, but anthropologists disagree as to how much biology determines differences in sex roles between cultures.
    • Fin (mwf)
  • 17. Three Main Systems of Exchange
    • 1. Reciprocity
    2. Redistribution 3. Market exchange
  • 18. Reciprocity
    • Mutual give-and-take among people of equal status.
      • Generalized reciprocity - A distribution of goods with no immediate or specific return expected.
      • Balanced reciprocity - Exchange of goods of nearly equal value, with a clear obligation to return them within a specified time limit.
      • Negative reciprocity - Exchange conducted for the purpose of material advantage and the desire to get something for nothing.
  • 19. Bronislaw Malinowski: Identified the Kula Ring of the Trobriand Islanders
  • 20. The Kula ring
    • The Kula ring spans 18 island communities of the Massim archipelago, including the Trobriand Islands
    • Participants travel at times hundreds of miles by canoe in order to exchange Kula valuables which consist of shell-disc necklaces (veigun)
      • that are traded to the north (circling the ring in counter-clockwise direction)
    • Sand shell armbands (mwali)
      • that are traded in the southern direction (circling clockwise ).
    • The terms of participation vary from region to region. (Wikipedia)
  • 21. Kula Ring
    • A pattern of exchange among many trading partners in the Trobriands and other South Pacific islands.
  • 22. Fig. 7-2, p.193
  • 23. Generalized Reciprocity: Whaling (see following image)
    • Inuit whale hunting involves 10 to 15 boats.
    • The first 8 boats to harpoon the whale receive stipulated portions of the meat.
    • The captain of the first boat gives the shaman a narrow strip cut from the belly between the 8th boat’s strip and the genitals.
    • The top of the head is cut up and eaten at once by everyone in the village
    • Portions of the tail are saved for feasting in the spring and autumn.
  • 24. Fig. 7-1, p.190 Generalized Reciprocity: Whaling
  • 25. Redistribution
    • Exchange in which goods are collected from members of the group and then redistributed to the group.
      • Potlatch is a competitive giveaway practiced by the Kwakiutl and other groups of the northwest coast of North America.
  • 26. Potlatch-1 classic image
  • 27. Potlatch-2 Modern image A potlatch is a ceremony among certain Native American and First Nations peoples
    • from the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States and the Canadian province of British Columbia such as the Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakiutl (Kwakwaka'wakw).
  • 28. Potlatch-3
    • The potlatch takes the form of a ceremonial feast traditionally featuring seal meat or salmon. In it, hierarchical relations between groups were observed and reinforced through the exchange of gifts and other ceremonies .
  • 29. Potlatch-4 as gift economy
    • The potlatch is an example of a gift economy ; the host demonstrates their wealth and prominence through giving away their possessions and thus prompts participants to reciprocate at their potlatch.)
  • 30. Redistribution
    • Leveling mechanism is a practice, value, or form of social organization that evens out wealth within a society.
    • Cargo system is a ritual system common in Central and South America in which wealthy people are required to hold a series of costly ceremonial offices.
  • 31. Market Exchange
    • Economic system in which goods and services are bought and sold at a price determined by supply and demand
    • Impersonal and occurs without regard to the social position of the participants.
    • When this is the key economic institution, social and political goals are less important than financial goals.
  • 32. Capitalism
    • Economic system:
      • People work for wages.
      • Land and capital goods are privately owned.
      • Capital is invested for individual profit.
    • A small part of the population owns most of the resources or capital goods.
    Miss Fitch, I've forgotten. Which conglomerate now owns us?' Artist: Farris, Joseph
  • 33. Surplus Value of Labor
    • Marxist term for the difference between the wages a worker is paid and the value of their contribution to production to the capitalist.
  • 34. Quick Quiz
  • 35.
    • 1. If you act with "economizing behavior," as Western economists would say you do,
      • you are doing it because you value hard work.
      • you are doing this to ultimately get a better job and thus, a higher salary.
      • you will make a choice to benefit in some way.
      • you are motivated by thrift, and even might be called stingy.
      • you are consciously aware of what you are doing.
  • 36. Answer: c
    • If you act with "economizing behavior," as Western economists would say you do you will make a choice to benefit in some way .
  • 37.
    • 2. When you pay your taxes to "Uncle Sam" the U. S. Government , you are part of a system of
        • negative reciprocity.
        • redistribution.
        • balanced reciprocity.
        • generalized reciprocity.
        • exchange similar to the Kula Ring.
  • 38. Answer: b
    • When you pay your taxes to "Uncle Sam" the U. S. Government , you are part of a system of redistribution .
  • 39.
    • 3. A tradition of hosting redistributive community feasts or distributing gifts as a way of gaining prestige and often power by those who have more wealth than others is known as
        • balanced reciprocity.
        • a leveling mechanism.
        • penny capitalism.
        • an instance of pure altruism.
        • charity.
  • 40. Answer: b
    • A tradition of hosting redistributive community feasts or distributing gifts as a way of gaining prestige and often power by those who have more wealth than others is known as a leveling mechanism .
  • 41. More Notes On Gift,
    • Only if you are interested.
      • i.e., if we had more time in class, we would go through this stuff as well.
  • 42. Marcel Mauss (May 10,1872-1950)
  • 43. Marcel Mauss (1872-1950)
    • "What power resides in a given object that causes its recipient to pay it back?" -M. Mauss (1990:3).
  • 44. Marcel Mauss (1872-1950) The Gift
    • One of the most promising members of L’ Annee Sociologique , he spent much of his scholarly time publishing the work of his collegues who died in WWI (Durkheim dies soon after).
    • The Gift was his only major gift to us.
    L'Année sociologique (Emile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss und Paul Fauconnet), 1987
  • 45. Marcel Mauss (1872-1950) The Gift
    • Mauss’ noted that reciprocity is not only an economic system. Like birthday gifts, the sentimental value is often more important than its monetary value. Mauss argues that gifts index social relations in significant ways.
    • Contrarily, Mauss argues that "gifts" are often not what we think of as gifts. As part of an economic system, they can be thought of as payment of goods or services owed. Imagine receiving a birthday gift of considerably less value than one you gave!
  • 46. gifts are never "free".
    • Human history is full of examples of gifts that give rise to reciprocal exchange.
  • 47. The famous question
    • "What power resides in the object given that causes its recipient to pay it back?"
  • 48. The answer:
    • the gift is a "total prestation", imbued with "spiritual mechanisms", engaging the honour of both giver and receiver
      • the term "total prestation" or " total social fact " ( fait social total ) was coined by his student Maurice Leenhardt after Durkheim's social fact .
  • 49. The object is tied to the giver
    • Such transactions transcend the divisions between the spiritual and the material in a way that according to Mauss is almost "magical".
    • The giver does not merely give an object but also part of himself, for the object is indissolubly tied to the giver:
    • " the objects are never completely separated from the men who exchange them" (1990:31).
  • 50. social bond with an obligation
    • Because of this bond between giver and gift, the act of giving creates a social bond with an obligation to reciprocate on part of the recipient .
    • To not reciprocate means to lose honour and status, but the spiritual implications can be even worse.
  • 51. three obligations
    • Mauss distinguished between three obligations:
      • giving - the necessary initial step for the creation and maintenance of social relationships;
      • receiving , for to refuse to receive is to reject the social bond; and
      • reciprocating in order to demonstrate one's own liberality, honour and wealth.
  • 52.
    • KEY to NOTE: The nature of gifts can be ambiguous and political in all cultures, our own culture as well.
  • 53. Exchange narrowly conceived Money Exchange
  • 54. Exchange broadly conceived Gift Theft Money Trade Kinship Exchange
  • 55. Gift as gift or as Burden?
  • 56. Possible Exam Item
    • How does Lee’s “Eating Christmas in the Kalahari” illustrate the Mauss’ principle that there is no such thing as a free gift?
  • 57. fin
  • 58. p.183
  • 59. Mauss and Gift- Simple Societies
    • Gift-giving, according to Mauss, is the fundamental glue in these societies for the maintenance of social structures.
    • Through gift giving social bonds are created, individuals are joined, sharing with each other the back and forth of the social power that is associated with the gifts exchanged.
  • 60. Mauss and Gift- Simple Societies 2
    • It places the individual into a structure of "total services."
      • In typical Durkheimian fashion, he emphasizes the collaborative, consensual social structure of an economic system as opposed to the rational calculation of individuals . (Kosalka 12/99)
  • 61. Mauss and Gift- Complex Societies
    • In other societies, however, Mauss related that this notion of gift-exchange rises to another level where gift-exchange takes on a competitive aspect.
    • The textbook case of this type of this kind of gift is found in the "potlatch" practiced among the tribes of the American Northwest. (Kosalka 12/99)