Research in Economic Anthropology: Volume 21


Table of contents

(14 chapters)

The anthropological literature on the gift has split the social and material world into a premodern realm of thick sociality where gifting is located, and a modern realm of thin sociality in which exchange occurs. It concedes the modern realm to neoclassical economists. This paper challenges both the premodern/modern split and the adequacy of neoclassical theory as a description of material life anywhere, drawing on Post Keynesian critiques of the neoclassical treatment of time. The heterodox Post Keynesian school provides a conception of the subject situated in time that is better fitted to non-reductionist theories of material life.

An analysis of urban work relationships in Dakar (Senegal) turns almost automatically into an analysis of social networks because of the system of relational actions and strategies that forms around the figure of the worker. The observation of the daily routine of any of Dakar's micro-businesses reveals the broad interference that exists between networks of family, alliance, and client relations. The logic of gift giving coexists with a market economy; social relations are often used in place of capital, and wages for the social players are often paid with wage embryos or token salaries.

Mobile retailers (peddlers) that sell handicrafts to tourists are commonly found in many tourism locations throughout the world. In this article, I discuss the vending practices and social relations of primarily female ambulantes (mobile Maya handicrafts vendors) within economic and political contexts of Antigua, Guatemala. I argue that continued participation in the tourism market is not solely dependent on sales, but on the social relations that ambulantes maintain with each other and on the political contexts in which they sell. Finally, I contend, aside from the chance to make a significant amount of money, the social networks and social relations practiced by female ambulantes can have a positive effect on their lives.

A renewed interest in the hunting hypothesis has focused on the control and distribution of meat. A frequent observation among foragers is that large game prey resources are often widely distributed in a manner that suggests to some researchers that hunters do not own their prey and thus cannot direct meat distribution to their families. The ‘show-off’ model has been evoked to argue that hunters hunt in order to signal status rather than to provision their families. In contrast, detailed prey distribution data from the whale hunters of Lamalera, Indonesia, show that hunters do in fact own specific shares of prey. Whales are indeed very large game, but rather than a public good, a harvested whale carcass at Lamalera consists of privately owned shares, delineated by a complex and mutually agreed-upon set of norms. Results show that hunting in Lamalera is mutualistic, involving multifaceted coordination between many individuals. Rights to shares of the harvest are contingent primarily upon hunt participation either directly as a hunter, as a craftsman, or as a corporate member. If big game hunting does not preclude hunters from owning the meat they harvest, then hunting may be less about simply ‘show’ and more about family provisioning than suggested by the show-off model.

The difference between the highly successful Maine lobster industry and the crisis-ridden New England ground fishery is that the lobster industry has been able to organize politically to get legislation to solve a number of communal action dilemmas. The groundfishery has not been able to do so. What has made the difference is the lobster industry's development of a conservation ethic over the past 70 years, as additional conservation laws, increasing catches, and ideational factors reinforced each other in an upward spiral. In the groundfishery, top down management policies, biology, and technology all worked against developing effective rules, which led to cheating, a “gold rush mentality” and overexploitation.

This paper is an examination of the forms of control exercised over the labour of women and men on family-based farms in rural Languedoc, France. The argument of the paper is that the labour force on family enterprises is not spontaneously created but that men and women are deliberately fashioned into disciplined workers through the processes of regulation. In rural Languedoc, this is accomplished through two management systems that prevail on the small-scale wine growing enterprises of the region. I call one, a regime of “familial hegemony” and the other, a regime of “familial despotism.” In a regime of familial despotism, coercion is practised to control labour. By contrast, in a regime of familial hegemony, consent serves as the basis upon which labour is secured, retained and managed. The paper uses examples drawn from fieldwork among Languedoc wine growers to illustrate the ways in which despotic and hegemonic regimes operate in a context in which rural depopulation has made the retention of labour imperative on family run farms.

Temporary male outmigration has become commonplace among many rural Yucatec Maya communities. An analysis of migrant and non-migrant households based on a series of economic variables reveals the types of households in which migration is most likely and most remunerative. In addition to explaining the statistical analysis used to generate the profile of households, an ethnographic example of each household type is included. The findings reveal that migration occurs among all household types (from poorest to wealthiest) and that households that are the most economically diversified are less likely to participate in the migration process.

Based on documents (especially sharecropping contracts registered in 1930) and on interviews of informants, this article provides a reconstruction of Mexican sharecropping and land tenure immediately prior to the initiation of government sponsored land distribution to peasants. It does so for rural estates in the township of Allende located in the northeastern portion of the state of Guanajuato, central Mexico.

Sweeping economic and political changes occurred in the Brazilian municipality of Itupiranga, Pará, in the 1970s and 1980s. Former subsistence-oriented resource use patterns employed by local caboclos collapsed as newcomer social groups, who had the backing of local, state and federal policies, implemented new profit-oriented schemes. Although local caboclos no longer carried out former economic activities, they had an Amazonian worldview that was quite critical of the ways in which other groups utilized resources.

For decades anthropologists, economists, and historians have debated whether Wallerstein's proposed European-centered world economy is an adequate model for explaining the rise of capitalism and the creation of “core” consuming and “peripheral” producing geographical areas in the early modern era. To go beyond generalizations, researchers must turn to specific examples from a broad array of cultural, social, and geographical situations to evaluate and explain why differences existed. Historical archaeology is ideally suited for this as it considers both the documentary evidence and material manifestations of these developing economies. The Spanish colonial empire of the 16th through 19th centuries provides an ideal “sample” from a single colonial cultural context to examine this in detail. After decades of work in the Caribbean, the Americas, the Philippines, and Oceania, evidence suggests that what developed is far more complex and made up of a combination of internal colonial constraints, external systemic concerns, and technological developments.

This paper examines how natural disasters and the conditions they precipitate can encourage manifestations of globalization on the local level. The transnational phenomenon this paper is concerned with is retail trade concentration which, among other things, involves the spread of large retail facilities outside of downtown business districts. The end result of this process is often a devitalized urban core. The study compares the recent historical experience of two provincial urban communities in the Philippines: Dagupan City and San Fernando City. Downtown Dagupan endured considerable damage from a major earthquake in 1990, while the city center of San Fernando was only minimally impacted by the disaster. Paying particular attention to the various political, social, and economic dynamics underlying post-earthquake developments in both Dagupan and San Fernando, this work suggests that, although natural catastrophes may lead to a revitalization of downtown life, they may ultimately subject affected urban centers to a significant hollowing out in the post-disaster context as a result of increased trade concentration.

This paper weighs the shift from an economy driven primarily by ski tourism to one driven by rapid “touristic real estate” development in Vail and the surrounding Eagle Valley, Colorado, USA. Intensive, team ethnography was concerned with how cultural values, community life, and social dynamics respond to the compression of residents' time and their diminished access to quality living space. Such issues as worker housing shortages and the explosion of “trophy” homes, the decline of “ski bums” and rise of migrant work forces, as well as environmental issues surrounding expansion in the valley are addressed. Finally, we ponder how local dynamics relate to broader regional, national, and global currents.

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Research in Economic Anthropology
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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