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The contributors to this volume examine how things are sold and traded in a variety of social and cultural settings, both present and past. Bridging the disciplines of social history, cultural anthropology, and economics, the volume marks a major step in our understanding of the cultural basis of economic life and the sociology of culture.
Foreword Nancy Farriss; Preface; Part I. Toward an anthropology of things: 1. Introduction: commodities and the politics of value Arjun Appadurai; 2. The cultural biography of things: commoditization as process Igor Kopytoff; Part II. Exchange, Consumption, and Display: 3. Two kinds of value in the Eastern Solomon Islands William H. Davenport; 4. Newcomers to the world of goods: consumption among the Muria Gonds Alfred Gell; Part III. Prestige, Commemoration, and Value: 5. Varna and the emergence of wealth in prehistoric Europe Colin Renfrew; 6. Sacred commodities: the circulation of medieval relics Patrick Geary; Part IV. Production Regimes and the Sociology of Demand: 7. Weavers and dealers: the authenticity of an oriental carpet Brian Spooner; 8. Qat: changes in the production and consumption of a quasilegal commodity in northeast Africa Lee V. Cassanelli; Part V. Historical Transformations and Commodity Codes: 9. The structure of a cultural crisis: thinking about cloth in France before and after the Revolution William M. Reddy; 10. The origins of swadeshi (home industry): cloth and Indian society, 1700–1930 C. A. Bayly; Index.