Inalienable Possessions

Author: Annette B. Weiner
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520911802
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Inalienable Possessions tests anthropology's traditional assumptions about kinship, economics, power, and gender in an exciting challenge to accepted theories of reciprocity and marriage exchange. Focusing on Oceania societies from Polynesia to Papua New Guinea and including Australian Aborigine groups, Annette Weiner investigates the category of possessions that must not be given or, if they are circulated, must return finally to the giver. Reciprocity, she says, is only the superficial aspect of exchange, which overlays much more politically powerful strategies of "keeping-while-giving." The idea of keeping-while-giving places women at the heart of the political process, however much that process may vary in different societies, for women possess a wealth of their own that gives them power. Power is intimately involved in cultural reproduction, and Weiner describes the location of power in each society, showing how the degree of control over the production and distribution of cloth wealth coincides with women's rank and the development of hierarchy in the community. Other inalienable possessions, whether material objects, landed property, ancestral myths, or sacred knowledge, bestow social identity and rank as well. Calling attention to their presence in Western history, Weiner points out that her formulations are not limited to Oceania. The paradox of keeping-while-giving is a concept certain to influence future developments in ethnography and the theoretical study of gender and exchange.

Values and Valuables

Author: Cynthia Werner
Publisher: Rowman Altamira
ISBN: 0759115907
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A group of distinguished anthropologists and economists discuss the value attached to material objects by different cultures. The authors consider the sacred nature of objects that are exchanged between individuals, the value and power of markets, money, and credit, and the ways in which contemporary people bestow symbolic value on objects or individuals. With its emphasis on the interplay of cultural and economic values, this volume will be a great resource for economists and economic anthropologists.

Through a Glass Darkly

Author: Ronald Hoffman
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 9780807846445
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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These thirteen original essays are provocative explorations in the construction and representation of self in America's colonial and early republican eras. Highlighting the increasing importance of interdisciplinary research for the field of early America

Not Ours Alone

Author: Elizabeth Emma Ferry
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231507143
Format: PDF
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Elizabeth Ferry explores how members of the Santa Fe Cooperative, a silver mine in Mexico, give meaning to their labor in an era of rampant globalization. She analyzes the cooperative’s practices and the importance of patrimonio (patrimony) in their understanding of work, tradition, and community. More specifically, she argues that patrimonio, a belief that certain resources are inalienable possessions of a local collective passed down to subsequent generations, has shaped and sustained the cooperative’s sense of identity.

Giving Women

Author: Jill Rappoport
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190208589
Format: PDF
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Altruism and self-assertiveness went hand in hand for Victorian women. During a period when most lacked property rights and professional opportunities, gift transactions allowed them to enter into economic negotiations of power as volatile and potentially profitable as those within the market systems that so frequently excluded or exploited them. They made presents of holiday books and homemade jams, transformed inheritances into intimate or aggressive bequests, and, in both prose and practice, offered up their own bodies in sacrifice. Far more than selfless acts of charity or sure signs of their suitability for marriage, such gifts radically reconstructed women's personal relationships and public activism in the nineteenth century. Giving Women examines the literary expression and cultural consequences of English women's giving from the 1820s to the First World War. Attending to the dynamic action and reaction of gift exchange in fiction and poetry by Charlotte Bront?, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Christina Rossetti as well as in literary annuals, Salvation Army periodicals, and political pamphlets, Rappoport demonstrates how female authors and fictional protagonists alike mobilized networks outside of marriage and the market. Through giving, women redefined the primary allegiances of their everyday lives, forged public coalitions, and advanced campaigns for abolition, slum reform, eugenics, and suffrage.

Time and Commodity Culture

Author: John Frow
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198159476
Format: PDF
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Time and Commodity Culture is a detailed and theoretically sophisticated account of the cultural systems of postmodernity. Through a series of four linked essays on postmodern theory, tourism, gift exchange and commodity exchange, and the social organization of memory, it explores some of the implications of the commodification of culture for the contemporary and postmodern world.

Tolerance Democracy and Sufis in Senegal

Author: Mamadou Diouf
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231530897
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This collection critically examines “tolerance,” “secularism,” and respect for religious “diversity” within a social and political system dominated by Sufi brotherhoods. Through a detailed analysis of Senegal’s political economy, essays trace the genealogy and dynamic exchange among these concepts while investigating public spaces and political processes and their reciprocal engagement with the state, Sunni reformist and radical groups, and non-religious organizations. Through a rich and nuanced historical ethnography of the formation of Senegalese democracy, this anthology illuminates the complex trajectory of the Senegalese state and its reflection of similar postcolonial societies. Offering rare perspectives on the country’s “successes” since liberation, this collection identifies the role of religion, gender, culture, ethnicity, globalization, politics, and migration in the reconfiguration of the state and society, and it makes an important contribution to democratization theory, Islamic studies, and African studies. Scholars of comparative politics and religious studies will also appreciate the volume’s treatment of Senegal as both an exceptional and universal example of postcolonial development.

Clarity Cut and Culture

Author: Susan Falls
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 1479834394
Format: PDF
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Images of diamonds appear everywhere in American culture. And everyone who has a diamond has a story to tell about it. Our stories about diamonds not only reveal what we do with these tiny stones, but also suggest how we create value, meaning, and identity through our interactions with material culture in general. Things become meaningful through our interactions with them, but how do people go about making meaning? What can we learn from an ethnography about the production of identity, creation of kinship, and use of diamonds in understanding selves and social relationships? By what means do people positioned within a globalized political-economy and a compelling universe of advertising interact locally with these tiny polished rocks? This book draws on 12 months of fieldwork with diamond consumers in New York City as well as an analysis of the iconic De Beers campaign that promised romance, status, and glamour to anyone who bought a diamond to show that this thematic pool is just one resource among many that diamond owners draw upon to engage with their own stones. The volume highlights the important roles that memory, context, and circumstance also play in shaping how people interpret and then use objects in making personal worlds. It shows that besides operating as subjects in an ad-burdened universe, consumers are highly creative, idiosyncratic, and theatrical agents.

Faithful Bodies

Author: Heather Miyano Kopelson
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 1479852341
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In the seventeenth-century English Atlantic, religious beliefs and practices played a central role in creating racial identity. English Protestantism provided a vocabulary and structure to describe and maintain boundaries between insider and outsider. In this path-breaking study, Heather Miyano Kopelson peels back the layers of conflicting definitions of bodies and competing practices of faith in the puritan Atlantic, demonstrating how the categories of “white,” “black,” and “Indian” developed alongside religious boundaries between “Christian” and “heathen” and between “Catholic” and “Protestant.” Faithful Bodies focuses on three communities of Protestant dissent in the Atlantic World: Bermuda, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. In this “puritan Atlantic,” religion determined insider and outsider status: at times Africans and Natives could belong as long as they embraced the Protestant faith, while Irish Catholics and English Quakers remained suspect. Colonists’ interactions with indigenous peoples of the Americas and with West Central Africans shaped their understandings of human difference and its acceptable boundaries. Prayer, religious instruction, sexual behavior, and other public and private acts became markers of whether or not blacks and Indians were sinning Christians or godless heathens. As slavery became law, transgressing people of color counted less and less as sinners in English puritans’ eyes, even as some of them made Christianity an integral part of their communities. As Kopelson shows, this transformation proceeded unevenly but inexorably during the long seventeenth century.

Sacred Economies

Author: Michael J. Walsh
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231519931
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Buddhist monasteries in medieval China employed a variety of practices to ensure their ascendancy and survival. Most successful was the exchange of material goods for salvation, as in the donation of land, which allowed monks to spread their teachings throughout China. By investigating a variety of socioeconomic spaces produced and perpetuated by Chinese monasteries, Michael J. Walsh reveals the "sacred economies" that shaped early Buddhism and its relationship with consumption and salvation. Centering his study on Tiantong, a Buddhist monastery that has thrived for close to seventeen centuries in southeast China, Walsh follows three main topics: the spaces monks produced, within and around which a community could pursue a meaningful existence; the social and economic avenues through which monasteries provided diverse sacred resources and secured the primacy of Buddhist teachings within an agrarian culture; and the nature of "transactive" participation within monastic spaces, which later became a fundamental component of a broader Chinese religiosity. Unpacking these sacred economies and repositioning them within the history of religion in China, Walsh encourages a different approach to the study of Chinese religion, emphasizing the critical link between religious exchange and the production of material culture.