exchange n.
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  1. Exchange

  2. Culture & Exchange • In all societies, goods and services are exchanged • Societies held together by patterns of giving and receiving • Through exchange we are obligated to one another

  3. Kinds of Exchange • Reciprocity • Redistribution • Market Exchange

  4. Reciprocity • Generalized: carried out among close kin among many societies; most common in hunter-gatherer societies • Balanced: among friends or those of equal status • Negative: among strangers

  5. Generalized Reciprocity • Distribution of goods in which no account is kept of what is given and no immediate or specific return is expected • Example in our society: what parents give to their children

  6. Generalized Reciprocity • Among hunter-gatherers, a hunter distributes meat among the kin group or camp • Each person or family gets an equal share or the share depends on kin relationship to hunter • Why does the hunter do it?

  7. Why give away the meat? • Hunter gains status from accomplishing a difficult and highly skilled task • All people in the society are bound by the same rules, so everyone is in the position of being a recipient at some point • Stinginess is condemned • Meat would probably spoil before one family could finish it

  8. Balanced Reciprocity • Clear obligation to return, within a specified amount of time, goods of nearly equal value • Example in our society: gifts at weddings or birthdays, invitations, buying a round of drinks • Economic aspect is repressed • Refusal to receive or failure to reciprocate the gift means end of social relationship

  9. Balanced Reciprocity • Gift that is accepted puts receiver under obligation to the giver • Most often, the payoff is not immediate and in some situations, giving a return gift immediately shows an unwillingness to be obligated

  10. Balanced Reciprocity • Characteristic of trading economies that do not have a market economy • Trading partners have personalized and long-standing relationships • Trading partners know one another’s histories, personalities, and other aspects of their social lives

  11. Kula Ring • Each trading partner is linked to two others: one to whom he gives a shell necklace in exchange for an armband and the other to whom he gives an armband in exchange for a necklace • “To possess is great, but to possess is to give” = the value of the object is in its circulation

  12. Kula Ring • The kula itself is not functional as an object • However, it accompanies the trading of items that are utilitarian: canoes, axe blades, pottery, pigs, and other items • The Kula trade allows for friendly relations to be established and for the inter-island exchange of goods that are not locally available

  13. Negative Reciprocity • When someone tries to exploit the exchange to get more than the object is worth or the best possible investment • Cattle raiding or war • Example in our society: used car dealer, “an eye for an eye”

  14. Redistribution • Goods are collected from all members of the group and then redistributed in a different way • The center where the goods are collected and redistributed reveals political power • Example in our society: taxation

  15. Potlatch of the Northwest Coast • A feast in which many kinds of wealth (blankets, wooden boxes, fish oil, flour) were distributed by the chief to the people and other villages as a sign of prestige and wealth • Held at times of birth, death, marriage, or coming of age ceremonies • Competitive for the sake of prestige • Linked local groups into a regional alliance

  16. Potlatch of the Northwest • The boasting became inflated when Native Americans began to participate in the cash economy of the Canadians (trading fur for blankets, for instance) • Their wealth increased • Population declined substantially because of diseases Europeans brought

  17. Potlatch of the Northwest Coast • Many of the traditional sponsors (chiefs and their families) were dead • Everyone could now give a potlatch • Very intense competition for prestige • Wealth converted into prestige through the destruction of wealth items like blankets, pieces of copper, and houses (burned or buried at sea)

  18. Kwakiutl Copper Shield

  19. Potlatch of the Northwest Coast • Served to prevent the development of socioeconomic stratification • Surplus wealth was destroyed in order to create prestige • In market economies, surplus (profit) is reinvested in order to make more wealth

  20. The Market Economy • Almost all groups are to some extent part of the market economy now • Goods and services are bought and sold at a monetary price determined by the forces of supply and demand • Impersonal exchange; no social bonding • Occurs without regard to the social position of participants

  21. The Market Economy • Participants are interested in maximizing material gain • At the same time, the market economy never fully dominates • Forms of reciprocity continue to underlie the market economy