constitutive and contingent, and not confined to a capitalist economy, and he seeks to explore its evolution over time through an anthropological investigation of ‘the reciprocity of the gift’. 9 He begins by identifying three types of exchange: firstly, a
Conversations in South India and the Anthropology of Ethics
This article constitutes an intervention in the anthropology of ethics through a discussion of conversations about instances of religious alms/charitable giving where there is no expectation of direct reciprocity. I argue that this kind of ‘ethical
As a tactic of cognitive self‐awareness, the reciprocity of perspectives is not so much a subjective metric for intercultural comparison as it is an internalised property of human sentience, which I label as a subject/object shift: the transposition of ends and means. Understood most broadly as a universal application of the double proportional comparison, made famous by Claude Lévi‐Strauss as the canonical formula for myth, the reciprocity of perspectives, instead of opposing the innate and the artificial (e.g. ‘nature’ and ‘culture’) to one another, presupposes a reciprocal, self‐contradiction between the two. I examine the self‐transformative and tactical character of the reciprocity of perspectives and its effects on language itself, which ceases to be an instrument of communication and takes on the role of communicator or persuader – that of the user rather than the tool.
Buddhist Nuns as Mediators of Generalised Exchange in Thailand
In this paper I examine the part that women, in the ambiguous role of Buddhist nun (mae chee), now take in the emblematic Buddhist practice of alms donations. The monastic office of 'mae chee' is complicated. It is conveyed through the ritual adoption of religious vows and is usually undertaken for life. However, mae chee ordination is only partial and its status is far below that of monks. In Thai law mae chee are regarded as pious laywomen (upasikas) and the Department of Religious Affairs does not mention them in its annual report. Even so, because they are said to have renounced the world they do not have the right to vote. Owing to this ambiguity mae chee are able to employ both the ascetic practices of renouncers (such as accepting alms) and those of laywomen (such as offering alms). Mae chee, while debarred from the alms round, both receive alms from the laity and donate alms to monks. Furthermore, mae chee receive monetary alms from the laity on behalf of the monastic community as a whole. I argue that by handling money given to the monastic community mae chee mediate in a relationship of generalised reciprocity between the monastic community and the lay society. By donating alms to monks, mae chee appear to be reaffirming their status of partial ordination, yet in order for them to be able to receive alms donations from the laity they must see themselves, and be recognised by the laity, as an integral part of the monastic community. A nuanced understanding of these economic, religious and gendered roles is crucial to our understanding of the incorporation of women into the monastic community and the ways in which gift practices are related to interpersonal and group dynamics in the context of modern Thai monasticism.
Comment on the Special Section on Cultural Appropriation
“Appropriation“ is a complex term used in many different realms, and an almost ubiquitous phenomenon. Conceptually linked to questions of mobility, appropriation has both a social and physical dimension. This essay delineates the term's employment in key political and academic discourses, and interrogates its inherent logic with regard to possession, the attribution of purpose and value, and the social reciprocity of the parties involved in the act. Starting off with questions of just distribution in modern nation-states, the argument then traces appropriation in contemporary debates on copyright in a digital age, and provides a sketch of the larger political imaginary informing acts of appropriation.
Dilemmas of, and concerning, US anthropology in the world
Virginia R. Dominguez
Paradoxes shape the relationship of the US anthropological community to its counterparts elsewhere and require new thinking about leadership that focuses on mutuality, responsibility, reciprocity, and pragmatism. Explored here are some key contradictions I see in ways of looking at the current, past, or plausible role of the US anthropological community and, in particular, the American Anthropological Association and its nearly forty Sections. Marked inequality exists among national and international anthropological organizations in size, finances, journal production, and conference attendance and often in perceived degree of importance, control, vibrancy, or agenda-setting. Yet this intervention argues for ways to mitigate that marked inequality, nonetheless, by refusing a binary us-them conceptualization and emphasizing creative pragmatism, mutuality, and responsibility. Unconventionally it even asks whether US anthropology should lead more in the world of anthropology than it currently does or lead less, and why both are worth exploring.
John G. Wilson
Recently, social-media tools have been widely credited with igniting pervasive social upheavals in the Middle East, some of which brought down governments. This article explores the putative structure of such gatherings and considers new developments in what such collectives might be from a Sartrean perspective, in particular as mediated by the arrival of social media. A Sartrean perspective on the still indefinite composition of media collectives is offered under Sartre's concept of the groupe en fusion, yet still open to discussion under his concept of individual free choice. Throughout, the chimerical presence of the We-subject, as an ontologically suspect entity arises, in particular when reification is attempted by socialmedia users living under illiberal political regimes. The situation of dissident women in the Middle East is often referred to.
Sarah Green, Marilyn Strathern, Iracema Dulley, Martin Holbraad, Alberto Corsín Jiménez, Marianna Keisalo, and Frederick H. Damon
Rejecting a Fiscal Model of Reciprocity in Peri-urban Bolivia
Miranda Sheild Johansson
of whom are bilingual in Quechua or Aymara and Spanish, and who self-identify as indigenous or originario (first people). 1 The main argument forwarded here is that the model of reciprocity and social contract thinking, which governments and social
Clientelism beyond reciprocity and economic rationality
Flávio Eiró and Martijn Koster
Scholarly understandings of clientelism are usually divided between those centering on moral values and reciprocity and those based on economic rationality. In this article, by focusing on the point of view of the “clients,” we show how these two