By Carles Salazar
On the fringe of western Europe, yet fully integrated into the capitalist market, the rural economy of the west of Ireland seems to provide a fascinating object of analysis to the student of European folk cultures. This book concentrates on a particular aspect of that rural economy: the social organization and cultural construction of work in a community of family farms. The concept of work, which is primarily farm work, is taken here as a very elementary set of ideas, images and experiences that enable us to penetrate in the different cultural spheres that intersect life on an Irish family farm. Work, the author concludes, is to this farming community what the Kula ring is to the Trobriand islanders - a kind of Maussian "total social fact" the analysis of which incorporates a comprehensive description of a particular social system.