Circuits of Exchange
This chapter, focused on commercial exchanges, opens up local society to wider society. It highlights the connections between ecology and production, social structure, settlement types, and the nature of local and supra-local economic exchanges. The ethnographic investigation confirms the role of the coastal towns and merchants. But it also shows that even the mountain communities, which were more marginal and poor in terms of productive capacity, operationalized their strategic position and forms of social organization in order to play a central role in the activation and control of exchange flows (oil/grain), which would become their most important resource. This chapter shows how legal and illegal access to external resources was regulated by kinship ties and the links between the structure of long-distance commercial exchange and the territorial and entrepreneurial organization of a certain number of corporate groups.