( Shinn 1985); the defining power of market discourse is likewise hegemonic. The
challenge taken up by the contributors to this volume goes beyond the contemporary
moment of political fad and fashion. For this collection attempts to contest the
hegemony of market discourse within social anthropology and social science generally, and invites analysts to attend to the possibility of other voices within the 'world
market'. Furthermore, the examination of the historical and sociological contexts in
which market discourse emerges refines a sense of the specificity of the market as an
idea and its relationship to practice.
This chapter is based on ideas set out in an initial position paper circulated to
conference participants prior to the meeting in January 1991. These ideas were later
elaborated in a more extended version presented to the conference, and I wish to
thank participants for their helpful comments, criticism and advice. Much inspiration has been gained in the writing of this introduction from the works of S.
Gudeman, in particular Gudeman and
Penn 1982, Gudeman 1986, Gudeman and Rivera 1990 on models, metaphors and cultural modelling. I warmly acknowledge
this debt, which is no doubt apparent at numerous points in the text. I would also
like to thank the members of the Social Anthropology Departmental Seminar at Manchester, where a version of this paper was read, for the many constructive
points they raised. In the preparation of this introduction I have also benefited
particularly from discussions with members of the Social Anthropology Unit at St
Andrews, especially Ladislav Holy and Tristan Platt. To Richard Fardon, a supportive ex-St Andrews hand, also goes a special note of thanks for commenting in detail
on an early draft. This introduction is provocative: as an exercise in theoretical slash
and burn methods it attempts to clear an analytical ground on which market
notions can be considered. Responsibility for any remaining excesses and errors in
argument or detail rest, however, solely with the author.
The regional scope of this volume is not intended to be exhaustive or complete, but
simply represents the area interests of conference participants who were able and
willing to address this topic. Greater regional coverage of these issues is a project
requiring further investigation. Note also that references to chapters included here
are made by simply citing the name of the author. All other references to published
works include the date of publication.
See Jackson 1982 on the related point that emphatic understanding precedes acts of
The following discussion is based on entries in The Compact English Dictionary.
See Fardon reference ( 1987:170) to ' Neitzche's pocket problem': that a word, like a
pocket, can contain a variety of things and those contents reflect the habits of the user.
Economics as a discipline negates morality (see
Novak 1985). The bracketing of
morality by economics is linked to the claims of the discipline to be a positive
science which sustains the distinction between fact and value.
Compare Hindu India where 'the innocence of commerce' is a function of a
division of labour between castes whose mutual interdependence does not give rise
to an ideology of autarky from which moral condemnation can be drawn (
Price, then, became a social phenomenon determined either by the community in
the form of the communis estimatio, the 'natural' or 'vulgar' price, which was
reached spontaneously by chaffering in markets, or by public regulation whereby
'legal' prices were fixed by public authorities (de
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Contesting Markets:Analyses of Ideology, Discourse and Practice.
Contributors: Roy Dilly - Editor.
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press.
Place of publication: Edinburgh.
Publication year: 1992.
Page number: 27.
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