AN203-012 Spring 2008 Paper 1

AN203-012 Spring 2008 Paper 1 - AN203 AN203-012 Spring 2008...

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AN203 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Dr. M. Mazzarelli AN203-012 Spring 2008 Paper 1 Paper 1 Reciprocity Page 1 Paper 1 due February 26 at the beginning of class (Please see details on submittal at the end of this assignment.) PAPER 1 RECIPROCITY or What Goes Round Comes Round The science of economics, as observed in industrialized society, focuses on production, distribution and consumption. Economic anthropology has adopted this broad framework but places these three areas within a cross-cultural context. As Heider notes: “The traditional perspectives and approaches of economic anthropology are understandably somewhat different from those of economists, for much of what we are looking at takes place on such a smaller scale and is so much more less formal that it often escapes the notice of “real” economists” (2007: 172). This assignment addresses the distribution or exchange aspect of economic systems, specifically reciprocity. This is a key concept in understanding our evolution as a species and culture bearing animal and an important area of ethnographic research. It is also a form of exchange that is found in all societies at all levels of complexity. We have “hxaro” among the !Kung or Ju/’hoansi who are considered the most basic type of foraging and least complex form of society (Baker and Swop 2005; Lee 2008; Shostak 1983). There is the kula and reciprocity described for the Trobrianders by Malinowski (1922) and Weiner (1980; 1985; 1990). We have read Whiteley’s piece concerning Hopi reciprocity and how complex a gift can be (2008). We are all familiar with reciprocity in one of the most complex societies, the United States. In addition to our typical holiday exchanges, reciprocity can be a crucial dynamic in understanding how to get along on scare resources as documented by Carole Stack in her classic study of poverty in a small mid-western city (1974). Reciprocity offers insight into the fundamental dynamics of the relationships that are the underpinnings of the economic, political, and social patterns that have brought us to where we are now. Heider offers a brief overview of forms of exchange and how crucial these are to understanding how societies are integrated. He also provides a helpful discussion of the contributions of Mauss and others to the anthropological literature on exchange systems (2007: 203-222). You should look at these sections carefully so you are well grounded in the anthropological perspective. The Assignment 1. Define and describe the concept of reciprocity as understood by anthropologists. How does reciprocity compare with other systems of exchange (redistribution and market exchange)? Be specific. 2.
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2008 for the course AN 203 taught by Professor Dr.m.mazzarelli during the Spring '08 term at Mass Colleges.

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AN203-012 Spring 2008 Paper 1 - AN203 AN203-012 Spring 2008...

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