The Consumer Connection
Marcel Mauss’s Essay on the Gift (1925/1967) was an initial look at the relationship among cultural symbolism, moral obligations, and the economy in preindustrial societies.’ He dealt with the internal structures of primitive and archaic economies as autonomous units. Reciprocity and redistribution were the bases for obligatory gift exchanges. Karl Polanyi (1968:12–25) has examined the relationship between external trade and gift exchange, or status payments, which are internal to a society. The growth of the tourist art and craft market in Third World countries is an example of the interface of informal sector economies with an international monetary system. The concept of the gift is central to the interpretation and use of tourist art objects both in their production settings and abroad. In this chapter, 1 explore the economic aspect of tourist art and its impact upon imagery. I do so by examing the buyer-seller relationship, or the consumer connection, in symbolic and economic terms.
KeywordsIvory Coast Gift Exchange Cottage Industry Tourist Market International Monetary System
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