For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Work in Non-Market and Transitional Societies

by Applebaum, Herbert A (1984)


In industrialized cultures, what we do to earn a living is usually divorced from what we do the rest of the time. This contrasts with non-market cultures, where work is an intimate part of life. People of such cultures perceive a unity between hunting and raising a family, between making pots and training children, between the building of houses and the practice of religion. Often there is no separate word for work because work is such an all-encompassing activity. Work in Non-Market and Transitional Societies is an overview of the organization of work in diverse societies, the division of labor, the notions of time that affect work and working, and the kinds of adaptations people make when transplanted from one society to another. The groundbreaking study encompasses pre-industrial and non-market societies as well as cultures in the process of change and modernization. This double focus provides an unusual and stimulating perspective for both anthropology and the social sciences. This book features a broad theoretical introduction, delineating the major issues and aspects of investigation in this field. It then presents twenty essays that show how work is carried on by women and men in varied societies and cultures. The authors provide guidelines for understanding the different value systems and discuss why each approach to work is appropriate in its specific societal structure.


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