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Discuss the relevance of anthropological concepts, like 'spheres of exchange' - Essay Example

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Author Tutor Course Date Discuss the Relevance of Anthropological Concepts like 'Spheres of Exchange' This essay discusses the relevance of spheres of exchange as an anthropological concept. The essay will include an introduction, discussing the meaning of the term and anthropologists who discuss the term…
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Discuss the relevance of anthropological concepts, like spheres of exchange
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Discuss the relevance of anthropological concepts, like 'spheres of exchange'

Download file to see previous pages... Lastly, the essay will end with a conclusion, which sums up all the arguments and ideas discussed in the paper. Introduction Spheres of exchange refer to an anthropological concept, which entails the analysis of restrictions in trade and societies that share communal resources. In discussing spheres of exchange, the main focus is on whether principles of the market and economic theories can be considered as true in economies of all societies (Hart & Ortiz 1). This concept is based on the assumption that maximization of profit is what motivates all exchanges. All people have the sole motive to accumulate considerable profits when they engage in exchange. Therefore, the concept seeks to examine the economics behind any form of exchange in the society (Hart & Ortiz 1). Anthropologists examine this concept under economic anthropology. Based on this, the concept seeks to compare and analyze consumption, production, and exchange in societies not based in the west. In studying spheres of exchange, economic anthropologists have had two aims. One of the aims includes establishing economic activities based on the social and cultural context. The second aim entails understanding the rationality behind the systems of exchange, which seem irrational and unconventional (Hart & Ortiz 1). The anthropologists who studied spheres of exchange include Laura and Paul Bohannan; they studied this concept in their field work, in Nigeria. They provided three types of spheres: the subsistence sphere, wealth, and marriageable female relatives. The subsistence sphere consisted of food, such as grains, yams, vegetables, among others. Wealth comprised cattle, slaves, white cloth, and brass rods (Hart & Ortiz 3). Economic anthropologists Karl Polyani, Marcel Mauss, and Karl Marx have had an impact in the explanations of spheres of exchange. Polyani made a significant contribution through his comparison of economic institutions. His ideas outlined in Trade and Market in the Early Empires represent his beliefs. He argued that the economy of capitalistic societies is guided by values and not aim for profit (Hart & Ortiz 3). In his works, known as the gift, Mauss examines the exchange of gifts in various societies. He holds that gifts have a reciprocal nature since the receiver has an obligation to pay back what he or she got from the giver. Karl Marx made contributions in the field of anthropology through his dialectics and his arguments of social class. Neoliberal Globalization Neoliberal globalization entails efforts to remove barriers to trade and privatization of services as well as resources. The main objective of neoliberal globalization of the economy is to leave prices at the control of market forces. This tends to benefit a few in the society, while the majority suffers due to increased prices and unfavorable conditions in the market. Neo-liberalism and globalization develops within certain circumstances, which tend to be social and historical. Neo-liberalists argue that this concept is a law of nature. Anthropologists take globalization to mean the escalation in flows and improvement, in connections of people, values, goods, ideas, symbols, and knowledge (Hart & Ortiz 1). In anthropology, the term entails descriptions on how the market has prevailed. As a result, the economy became less dependent on political, social, and cultural forces. This has led to profound dominance of the market in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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