A study of Reciprocity

A study of Reciprocity - A study of Reciprocity By: Jeremy...

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A study of Reciprocity By: Jeremy Gilbreath Introduction to Cultural Anthropology AN203-012 Dr. M. Mazzarelli Spring 2008 Paper 1 2/22/08 1
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1. When I started researching reciprocity I found that it is almost a study of an economic structure, more then just the a way of distribution within the community. After looking at the different type’s and ways that reciprocity is structured all around the world I would have to say that it shows extreme diversity all depending on the culture that you are looking at in the moment. Reciprocity is also very different from the other two forms of distribution we talked about which were a market structure, and redistribution. Finally I found out that reciprocity is a back bone in many societies but it many other societies it is still present but not to the same extent. 2. If I were just looking for the textbook answer for reciprocity I would say that reciprocity is “ Distribution of products and services by long-delayed exchange of gifts” (Hieder 450). This basically tells us that reciprocity is the idea that someone or some group gives a gift of something whether it be food, cloths, ect. To another person or group and then later on that person is supposed to return the favor. That is the basic idea of reciprocity but it is much more complex then that. 3. There are 3 real types of reciprocity. First there is generalized reciprocity. In this category fits “pure” gift, the idea that you give something to a person normally it is one of your kin and they don’t even need to return the favor because you are in such good graces with them. Also in generalized reciprocity is the gift idea in which someone gives something to a family member or a neighbor and sooner or later more so on the sooner side of thing that person who received a gift gives something to the giver (Hieder, 213). 4. Next we have balanced reciprocity. In this category we find bartering and 2
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bargaining. Both of these sub categories of reciprocity involve the exchange of an item and either in a short while in the case of bartering or in immediately in the case of bargaining an item is given back to the original giver. For these two types of reciprocity the exchange is normally with a friend (Hieder 214). 5. Finally we come to the third and final type of reciprocity, which is negative reciprocity. This category is looked at more as theft or plunder because when the first gift is given the person receiving it is not intending to give anything back. This is the least
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A study of Reciprocity - A study of Reciprocity By: Jeremy...

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