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Lecture 11 Marxism: Production and exchange. Marxist critiques of anthropology The 1960s and 70s was a period of de- colonisation and the radical social.

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Presentation on theme: "Lecture 11 Marxism: Production and exchange. Marxist critiques of anthropology The 1960s and 70s was a period of de- colonisation and the radical social."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lecture 11 Marxism: Production and exchange

2 Marxist critiques of anthropology The 1960s and 70s was a period of de- colonisation and the radical social movements. Criticised the preoccupation with social and cognitive structures. Need to focus on the real economic interests. Questioned the position of the anthropologist Key concepts were power, ideology, domination and resistance. Base vs. superstructure

3 Peasant and capitalist mode of production Control over the means of production Use value: Commodity-money-commodity Exchange value: Money-commodity-money The satisfaction of needs vs. the limitless accumulation of capital

4 Chayanovs model of peasant production Peasants do not maximise profit or material production Aim to satisfy a certain level of material wants Labour is related to the household life-cycle

5 Surplus value The value of a thing is the labour used to produce it. As labour becomes a commodity it becomes the disguised source of profit for the employer. Workers produce more than they receive in wages, and this is appropriated by the employer.

6 Commodity fetishism Social relations between persons are disguised as social relations between things. Creativity no longer appears to be the result of a social relation between people, but of a thing. Commodities themselves appear as the source of value The commodity assumes an autonomy apart from human social activities

7 Taussig - South American Peasants Peasants are critical and antagonistic to the new capitalist production. Imagery of God and good, or spirits of Nature and ancestors vs. imagery of the devil and evil. Conscious opposition of use values to exchange values – the satisfaction of natural wants to the limitless search for profits.

8 Practices of magic Contract with the devil to increase output and wages Baptism of money

9 Taussigs analysis of fetishism The magical beliefs are an exotic expression of the opposition between the peasant mode of production and use value (C-M-C) and capitalist circulation (M-C-M). There is a mystery whereby capital appeared to breed more of itself. The task facing peasants was how to transmute reproductive capacities to money.

10 Morality and resistance This process was not only unreal but also immoral. It was seen as the outcome of a chain of events initiated by man, not an inherent property of money. Express the opposition of peasants to the introduction of capitalist relations of production. Capitalist relations have not yet become fully accepted as natural.

11 Political economy of informal labour in Sheffield The organic connections between the domestic and informal economies and the wage economy The role of domestic labour in reproducing capitalist interests. How informal arrangements obscure capitalist relations of production and labours real subordination to capital.

12 The informal economy Sheffield is one of the 25 poorest wards in England – Average official family income is £4000 One person in four is informally self- employed, half the population has multiple jobs. Real average family income is £17000.

13 The Morris tool factory Senior skilled workers control production and recruitment Dual pay and labour market: formal factory work and informal subcontracting in the neighbourhood Skilled workers: surrogate capitalists, labourer, mediators between the formal factory economy and the informal neighbourhood economy

14 Capitalist relations reproduced through informal relations Big steel contractors can use an army of non-unionised casual workers paid off the books Petty capitalists can command the labour of skill workers through informal relations Skilled workers can exploit younger workers and apprentices Men control the labour of women and children in their household

15 Marxist anthropology Looked at unveiling underlying material conditions Concerned with issues of power, domination and resistance Concerned with the relation between local communities and the global capitalist system Remained fundamentally concerned with structural analysis rather than the agency and creativity of individuals


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