Transfers a deductive approach to gifts, gambles, and economy at large
University of Chicago Press
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Pickles, A. (2020). Transfers a deductive approach to gifts, gambles, and economy at large. Current Anthropology, 61 (1), 11-29. https://doi.org/10.1086/706880
This paper examines reinterprets coreentral issues in issues in economic anthropology by exploring the possibilities openedwhat would happen by the ifdevelopment of the concept of transfers becameas one of itsa key theoretical resources for the field. After briefly describing examples of use of the term “transfer” in anthropology and economics, where it is both pervasive and somewhat nebulous, Ttransfers are defined are taken to beas movements of economic matter, and while transactions are the forms that arise through the configuration of transfers. Transactional sub-categories such as Maussian gift exchange or barter market exchange are then taken as socio-cultural and/or theoretical reificationsalisations, thereby becoming the goal of anthropological description. The article Examining the politics of creating and sustaining transactional sub-categories by first looking at the elementary transfers out of which they are constructed places ‘one-way transfers’ such as slavery and theft on the same conceptual plane as reciprocal and market transactions, rather than as a derivative or a remainder of either/both. discusses a range of transactions in these terms, demonstrating the conceptual space that is opened when we examine the politics of creating and sustaining transactional types by first looking at the elementary transfers out of which they are constructed. Gifts and gambling are used as exemplarsconsidered in greater detail. Gambling and ‘pure gifts’ become types of ‘one-way transfers,’ with engineered to possess only one component transfer, and Maussian gifts explicitly connect transfers together in a particular politics. The paper then examines use of the term transfer in economics in a fruitful search for overlaps and points of collaboration before picksing out effective examples from the existing anthropological literature that employ an incipient version of the transfer strategy and in-so-doing demonstrate its nascent explanatory promise.
This research has been supported by an ESRC+3 studentship [grant number ES/G012814/1], by a Research Fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, and by a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship [grant number pf160081]. The original fieldwork was also supported by the Royal Anthropological Institute through an Emslie Horniman fieldwork grant.
British Academy (pf160081)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/706880
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/280657