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Minpaku Series in Anthropology 6 Saibunpai no Ethnography (Becoming Groups - The Anthropological Studies of Multiple Redistribution)


256 pages, A5 format




April, 2019



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Saibunpai no Ethnography


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The current volume attempts to revive “redistribution,” a concept almost being forgotten in anthropology, as a focal point in economic anthropology. Redistribution does not necessarily refer here to state intervention to correct inequalities in wealth that have been quantified in the form of currency. Rather, in anthropology, examples of redistribution are the feast accompanying burial, harvest celebrations, food pooling within the family, and collective activities such as trade, construction of public buildings, and war. In other words, practices that are not carried out at the state-wide level, that do not aim to correct inequalities, and that are not predicated on currency have been called redistribution. What is common in these practices is the process of “collecting” goods, things, and labor in one place and then “distributing” them.
The current volume attempts to present two important points regarding redistribution by liberating the term from the formula of the correction of inequalities in wealth by the state. The first point relates to redistributive practices and the becoming of a group. When three or more people are engaged in a practice to collect and distribute something collectively, the participants must have a concrete image of the group in which they are participating. At the same time, the practice also renews the image of the group. The first feature of the current volume is a focus on this dynamic relationship between redistributive practices and group imaginaries. The second point relates to the multi-layered contexts in which a number of redistributive practices simultaneously take place. If redistribution is not limited to state-wide practices, we can examine a diverse range of redistributive practices of smaller scales and of shorter terms. What needs to be noted in this regard is that multiple redistributions at different scales interact with each other. The second feature of the current volume is therefore an attempt to open up a new horizon in research into redistribution in anthropology by examining how these multiple redistributions are related to one another.
On the basis of the theoretical concerns described above, anthropologists who have been engaged in long-term and concentrated fieldwork in various parts of the world (Finland, Japan, India, Melanesia, Ghana, and Pohnpei in Micronesia) have contributed chapters that carefully examine cases of redistributive practice in each region. It is expected that the concrete description offered in each chapter will lead to a renewed understanding of the various forms of redistributive practice. The volume is not only for those interested in theoretical themes, such as the economy, governmentality, the social, and groups, but also for those interested in good discussions using ethnographical techniques.

(Written by HAMADA Akinori, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences / 2022)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Becoming Groups Through Multiple Distribution (HAMADA Akinori)
Section 1: Politics of Distribution
Chapter 1: Who would Press the Button: The Dynamics of Demanding/offering the Emergency Alarm Service in Finland (TAKAHASHI Erika)
Chapter 2: Long-Term Care Insurance System and Reorganization of Community: A Case Study of Small Island in Okinawa (KAGAYA Mari)
Chapter 3: Analogies of Redistribution: Multiple Layer of Biomoral and State Institutions (TAGUCHI Yoko)
Section 2: Becoming Groups
Chapter 4: Groups, Warfare and Redistribution in Melanesian Anthropology: A Critical Review (SATOMI Ryujyu)
Chapter 5: “We Cook in One Pot”: Fame and the Hardships of Combined Family Household in Northern Ghana (TOMOMATSU Yuka)
Chapter 6: Relatedness and Differentiation through Redistribution Feasting: The Chieftainship and the Shifting Boundaries of Belonging in Pohnpei, Micronesia (KAWANO Masaharu)
Chapter 7: The Ways of Collecting Contributions: A Postplural Analysis on Harvest Ceremony of Rural Town in Southern Ghana (HAMADA Akinori)
Afterword (HAMADA Akinori)

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