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Barter and Social Regeneration in the Argentinean Andes

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Barter and Social Regeneration in the Argentinean Andes

Olivia Angé

Foreword by James G. Carrier

236 pages, 22 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-682-9 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (September 2018)

ISBN  978-1-80073-211-7 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (October 2021)

eISBN 978-1-78533-683-6 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®



“A subtle weaving between the clarity of theory and the richness of detail, Angé’s work has significance far beyond its regional trap- pings, and makes a powerful contribution to our understanding of the production of value at work in the medium of exchange.” • Social Anthropology

“Written in accessible and engaging prose, Olivia Angé’s recent book Barter and Social Regeneration in the Argentinean Andes is an excellent introduction to a hitherto understudied exchange -practice…While economic anthropologists should no longer be surprised by the claim that barter is social, Angé is persuasive in arguing for a more nuanced appreciation of this ‘blanket category’. Her work breathes new life and complexity into old tropes, making a strong case for barter’s continued study.” • Anthropos

“[This book] revitalizes and unites important debates about economic and ritual practices in the Andes. This pluralist approach demonstrates that these remote, seemingly irrational Andean fairs hold pertinent lessons for modern commodified societies. By demythologizing barter practices, Angé firmly invalidates polarizing perspectives on past and contemporary economic behaviour in the Andes and adds to current calls to pluralize mainstream economic thinking.” • Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Barter and Social Regeneration in the Argentinean Andes certainly constitutes an enriching read for any scholar interested in the economic and religious intertwining of the Andes.” • Bulletin de l'Institut Francais d'etudes Andines

“Angé’s insights are important not only for understanding non-monetary economics, but they also provide a valuable prism to understand the complex and changing nature of indigeneity in the modern world. Indeed, this ethnography highlights how the ‘acceptance’ of indigenous peoples by states that formerly sought to destroy their ways of life can come hand-in-hand with fetishisation, touristic exoticisation, and the regulation of traditional activities.” • Anthropology Matters

“Olivia Angé has crafted an engaging, insightful, and timely work that constitutes an important contribution to Andean/Latin American Studies, economic and religious anthropology, and the study of exchange. The author artfully weaves an edifying tapestry of the performativity of regional fairs among Kolla people of Argentina.” • David Berliner, Université Libre de Bruxelles

"Beyond its ethnographic relevance for Andean scholarship, Olivia Angé’s book provides a fine-grained description of an Andean modality of barter that is of broader interest to anthropologists as she revisits a cornerstone debate in the discipline around ceremonial exchanges. Criticizing existing typology of material circulation, and challenging an accepted opposition between gifts and commodities, the book highlights the importance of thinking through barter to understand the transactional fabrics of human societies." • Philippe Descola, Professeur émérite du Collège de France


Despite the pervasiveness of barter across societies, this mode of transaction has largely escaped the anthropologist’s gaze. Drawing on data from fairs in the Argentinean Andes, this book addresses a local modality of barter known as cambio. Bringing out its embeddedness within religious celebrations, it argues that cambio is practiced as a sacrifice to catholic figures and local ancestors, thereby challenging a widespread view of barter as a non-monetary form of commodity exchange. This ethnography of Andean barter considers processes of value creation, both economic and subjective, to further our understanding of how social groups create themselves through economic exchanges.

Olivia Angé is Associate Professor in Economic Anthropology at the Université libre de Bruxelles. She specializes in the study of material circulation, agriculture, and value creation in the Andes. Since 2005, she has conducted extensive fieldwork on barter fairs in the Argentinean cordillera. She is the co-author (with David Berliner) of Anthropology and Nostalgia (Berghahn, 2014).

Subject: Anthropology (General)Political and Economic Anthropology
Area: Latin America and the Caribbean


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