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Bitter money

Bitter money

Ryan Schram

ANTH 6916: Development and Culture–Key Concepts

1 April 2015

Available at http://anthro.rschram.org/6916/5

Tiv tugudu cloth. It makes a great gift!

Here are some pictures of Tiv people (Benue State, Nigeria) wearing prestigious handwoven cloth, including tugudu: http://kwekudee-tripdownmemorylane.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/tiv-people-nigerias-forest-food.html.

Bitter money is an ethnography

The subject of this essay is the Luo people of Kenya. It asks why they classify money according to its source, or how it is earned, and also stigmatize some money from some sources.

In order to answer this, it uses ethnographic means. It wants us to see the world from the point of view of the Luo people, and to step into their shoes. Luo rural communities consist of many people, families, adults and children. They are also something greater than the sum of the parts. They live their lives, and they also follow a pattern.

Discussion questions

  • Can you imagine what a Luo village looks like? What do you expect to see?
  • Shipton says that some things are not for sale (p. 1). Do you agree? What would the world be like if in fact every exchange was mediated by money?
  • By the same token, what would the world be like if there was no money at all?
  • p. 23 - Today no Luo can do without money. Why not?
  • p. 39 - Bitter money afflicts the seller. Why not the buyer?
  • Where do Durkheim's concepts apply?
  • Where do you see Weber's concepts having relevance?
  • Modernity? Are Luo modern? Are there different kinds of modernity?

A guide to the unit

6916/5.txt · Last modified: 2015/04/13 23:14 by ryans