This paper examines the prospects for social justice in a democratic community that is justified through the idea of contractual exchange as a cooperative scheme for mutual advantage. Common assumptions concerning the narrow institutional range of the mutual advantage framework are argued against, clearing away certain tensions between exchange and markets and equality and the welfare state. However, it is maintained that the principle of equality must further condition institutional formation beyond efficiency to satisfy the requirements of social justice. It is further advanced that the interest-based motivation in the idea of efficient exchange can be maintained in an egalitarian framework, when the shared interests and expectations of citizenship constitute an equal political baseline, from which universal social entitlement can be justified.
Winter Sleep is the latest film from Nuri Bilge Ceylan, a Turkish director and screenwriter who has received international acclaim. For the purpose of social and cultural analysis, this article critically focuses on the film’s key themes and maneuvers that have diagnostic value from a social theoretical viewpoint. These themes are religion, the relationship between religion and capitalism, and symbolic exchange. Organized around these topics, the article examines the religion-capitalism-symbolic exchange nexus by analyzing the motifs of formation, intervention, and intelligibility as these themes arise. This site of intersection is the conceptual pivot around which the article configures itself. It explores Winter Sleep based on what the film shows and says on screen, how its thought processes emerge, and at what points this thought supports or conflicts with dominant societal opinions.
Cutting and Connecting—'Afrinesian' Perspectives on Networks, Relationality, and Exchange
Knut Christian Myhre
This introduction sketches the history of anthropological network analysis and examines its influence and significance with regard to contemporary conceptual and theoretical concerns in the discipline. It is argued that recent Melanesian ethnography is an effect of, and owes a debt to, certain mid-twentieth-century developments in Africanist anthropology. These debts allow for the elicitation of concepts and concerns from Melanesianist anthropology and their deployment in the analysis of African ethnography. Such deployment may in turn explore the limits of these conceptual constructs and allow for their return in distorted and extended forms. As demonstrated by the contributors to this special issue, the historical relationships between Melanesian ethnography and Africanist anthropology hence enable an exchange of theoretical gifts and traffic in analytics that cut the network and separate the two regions, thus allowing for a new form of anthropological comparison.
All communities of practice must face questions relating to the material economic foundations of future sustainable societies. David Graeber, Karl Polanyi and Karl Marx each have produced typologies of possible types of economy, synthesised as: (1) the principle of individual reciprocity, (2) the market principle of capitalism, and (3) the planning principle of the state. I apply this synthesis to recent proposals for community change advanced by Bill McKibben and David Korten concerning economic scale and the re-localising of production and consumption sundered by globalisation, focused on the local exchange and trading system (LETS). The operationalising of LETS draws upon Adam Smith’s view of markets as face-to-face exchanges of goods taking place in small morality-bound communities. Smith, McKibben and Korten conflate two different meanings of the term ‘exchange’. To understand the role LETS may play in future sustainable economies in communities of practice demands treatment of this problem.
In his book The Structure of World History (2014) Kojin Karatani has argued that too little attention has been paid in Marxist historiography to the issue of ‘exchange’. In a number of Shakespearean texts ‘exchange’ and ‘reciprocity’ are of vital importance in sustaining social cohesion; in Romeo and Juliet, for example, radical disruptions of patterns of reciprocity and exchange expose an ambivalence that, in certain critical circumstances, inheres in language itself. The disruption that results from the perversion of these values is felt at every level of the social order, but particularly in the sphere of the ‘economic’, where money and trade become metaphors for the disturbance of the relation between language and action, word and object. This disruption is represented as a product of ‘nature’ but it also becomes a feature of a historically over-determined human psychology, and leads to a critical examination of different forms of government and social organization.
Gift Exchange and Living-related Kidney Transplantation in the Philippines
This paper considers living-related kidney transplantation, especially that between family members in the Philippines. Drawing on the anthropological theory of gift, it explores two aspects of the gift relationship—the relationship between the donor and the recipient and the relationship between the recipient and the object—and describes two categories of acts—'acknowledging the debt/repaying the gift of life' and 'taking care of a kidney/cherishing the gift'. This paper seeks to show that there is an internal tension in live kidney transplantation between two rival principles of gift operative in the world of Filipino family and kinship: one akin to the Maussian or 'archaic' gift and the other that places cherishing of the gift over repaying of the debt.
l'acte de 'donner' chez Simmel et Durkheim
Luca Guizzardi and Luca Martignani
This focuses on a key topic for comparison of two masters of sociological thought, Georg Simmel and Émile Durkheim: the question of giving in the context of social exchange. Durkheim deals with the issue in introducing the concept of organic solidarity, based on the division of social labour and implying the interdependence of individuals. This representation of solidarity links with the interest in credit and debt relations in Simmel's philosophy of money and with a perspective in which reciprocity is conceived as one of the main sociological functions involved in the representation of social bonds. After a comparison of Durkheim and Simmel's theories of reciprocity, a specific case discussed is the mortgage, conceived as a paradigm of the shape assumed by the immaterial reality of reciprocity in institutional and everyday life.
The Mark of Ritual
Over time, anthropology has lost the notion of ritual within the framework of exchange and of the ‘total social fact.’ Sahlins as well as Mauss interpreted the Maoris’ hau as a paradigm of exchange in which any event comprising a circulation of objects is but an exchange. The notion of ritual thus vanished, leaving in its place a long chain of logically equivalent transitive exchanges. Drawing on Orokaiva (Papua New Guinea) material relative to the competitive attempt of several religious factions to establish a comparative view of customary and Christian ritual, the Maori hau is revisited. This reading shows a clear contrast between what we must call ritual, comprising a hierarchic and mediated form of exchange wherein gifts are equated by virtue of the ‘spirit of the gift,’ and exchange per se, constituted by a face-to-face transaction of goods wherein equivalence is posited between prestations.
Forms and Functions of Value Transfer in Contemporary Society
Renewed anthropological attention to money and finance is welcome. However, recent attention to the ghosts in the financial machine neglects the infrastructures of payment that make finance possible. Following professionals and policymakers into the clearance and settlement of payments - the means of value transfer - affords insight into an industry hotly contested by new entrants and by a few critics who find in its business model a defiance of market logic. The tolls and fees of private payment infrastructures pose challenges to critical analyses of capitalism as well as to the public interest in payment, even as they are essential to the forms and functions of value transfer. Everyday exchanges are tolled, large-scale transfers are not: the article suggests that payment is a pressing political concern, as well as an analytical one.
A Scottish Leitmotiv
The global economy is battling financial crisis and recession on an unprecedented scale. Reisman's book Democracy and Exchange reviews the contributions of a number of thinkers including Adam Smith and Joseph Schumpeter to the task of making ordinary people feel tolerably happy with the outcomes that affect their lives. The article argues that although Smith is viewed as the principal figure in the Scottish political economy tradition, there are other writers, notably John Rae whose ideas may have more contemporary relevance than those of Smith. A return to the ideas of Rae and Schumpeter, particularly on fiscal policy, may provide important insights into the financial crisis.