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Economic LivesHow Culture Shapes the Economy$
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Viviana A. Zelizer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780691139364

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691139364.001.0001

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Circuits within Capitalism

Circuits within Capitalism

(p.311) 15 Circuits within Capitalism
Economic Lives

Viviana A. Zelizer

Princeton University Press

This chapter challenges the widespread assumption that markets ipso facto undercut solidarity-sustaining personal relations. It offers an alternative to the conventional account of interplay between market transactions and personal relations. The analysis brings together seven elements: (1) a sustained critique of radical dichotomies between intimate and impersonal social ties; (2) identification of commercial circuits as bridging structures that facilitate the coexistence of intimate and impersonal social ties; (3) reminders that anthropologists have frequently encountered commercial circuits in supposedly noncapitalist social settings; (4) a review of two areas of economic activity commonly thought to demonstrate (and suffer from) the incompatibility of intimate and impersonal social ties—local monetary systems and caring labor—for evidence of stable coexistence between commercial transactions and interpersonal intimacy; (5) identification of parallels in the formation and operation of commercial circuits within those two areas; (6) arguments that in each area those circuits facilitate the coexistence of commercial transactions and interpersonal intimacy but also generate exclusion and inequality in relation to outsiders; and (7) proposals for further inquiry into relations between commercial circuits and capitalism as such.

Keywords:   personal relations, solidarity, market transactions, capitalism, circuits

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