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Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge > CH 8 Review > Flashcards

Flashcards in CH 8 Review Deck (18)
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An economic system is an organized arrangement for producing, distributing, and consuming goods.

Each society allocates natural resources (especially land, water, and fuel), technology, and labor according to its own priorities.


In food-foraging societies, core features of the region may mark a group’s territory.

This provides flexibility because the size of a group and its territories can be adjusted according to the availability of resources in any particular place.


The technology of a people (the tools they use and knowledge about them) is related to their mode of subsistence.

All societies have some means of creating and allocating the tools used to produce goods.


Labor is a major productive resource, and the allotment of work is commonly governed by rules according to gender and age.

Cross-culturally, only a few broad generalizations apply to the kinds of work performed by men and women.


A more productive strategy is to examine the types of work that men and women do in the context of specific societies

To see how it relates to other cultural and historical factors.


The cooperation of many people working together is a typical feature of both nonindustrial and industrial societies.

Task specialization is important even in societies with very simple technologies.


The processes of distribution may be distinguished as

Reciprocity, Redistribution, and Market Exchange.


Reciprocity, the exchange of goods and services of roughly equal value, comes in three forms: generalized (in which the value is not calculated, nor the time of repayment specified)

Balanced (in which one has an obligation to reciprocate promptly); and negative (in which the aim is to get something for as little as possible).


A classic ethnographic example of balanced reciprocity between trading partners seeking to maintain social ties while also doing business is the Kula ring among islanders of the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

The Kula ring involves both balanced reciprocity and sharp trading.


Trade is a transaction in which two or more people are involved in an exchange of something for something else of equal value.

Such exchanges have elements of reciprocity but involve a greater calculation of the relative value of goods exchanged.


Barter is a form of trade in which no money is involved, and the parties negotiate a direct exchange of one trade good for another.

It may well be in the form of negative reciprocity, as each party aims to get the better end of the deal.


Redistribution requires a strong, centralized political organization. A government assesses a tax or tribute on each citizen to support its activities, leaders, and religious elite and then redistributes the rest, usually in the form of public services.

The system of tax collection and delivery of government services and subsidies in the United States is a form of redistribution.


Conspicuous consumption, or display for social prestige, is a motivating force in societies that produce a surplus of goods.

The prestige comes from publicly giving away one’s valuables, as in the potlatch ceremony, which is also an example of a leveling mechanism.


In nonindustrial societies, the marketplace is usually a specific site where people exchange produce, livestock, and material items they have made.

It also functions as a place to socialize and get news.


Although market exchanges may take place through bartering and other forms of reciprocity, money (something used to make payments for goods and services as well as

To measure their value) makes market exchange more efficient.


In state-organized societies with market economies, the informal sector—composed of economic activities set up to avoid official scrutiny and regulation—may be more important than the formal sector.

The informal economy includes remittances (earnings) that migrant laborers working abroad send to their families back in their home village or town.


When powerful countries impose market production schemes on other societies, the impact can be negative

As in the global production of soy in Paraguay where big landowners in cooperation with large agribusinesses have edged out small farmers and landless peasants.


Increasingly, development officials are utilizing the

Expertise that anthropologists provide in planning their projects.