Sunday, January 8, 2012

Forms of Exchange

Levi Strauss discuss two forms of exchange

Restricted Exchange and Generalized Exchange

Restricted Exchange involves a direct transaction between two groups where Group A gives a woman to Group B reciprocates immediately by giving a woman to A.Thus there exists a symmetrical relationship between the exchange units with the wife givers being the same as the wife takers.

The fundamental characteristic of marrige as a form of restricted exchange is seen particularly clearly in the societies with Dual Organizations.Such a system involves sister exchange or marriage with the bilateral cross -cousin.The kin terminology in this system requires the differentiation between the parallel and cross cousins regardless of whether the latter are patrilateral or matrilateral.

Generalized Exchange differs from restricted exchange by the way in which reciprocity takes place and by the number of units involved in a single transaction of exchange.In this A gives a woman to B,B gives a woman to C and so on until at some stage someone along the chain gives a woman to A so closing the circle.Thus their exists an asymmetrical relationship between the exchange units with the wife givers not being the same as the wife takers. Marriage as a form of generalized exchange is often found in societies practising unilateral cross-cousin marriages.

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