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Preindustrial Markets and Marketing: Archaeological Perspectives
Gary M. Feinman1 and Christopher P. Garraty2
1 Department of Anthropology, The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496;email: gfeinman@ﬁeldmuseum.org 2
Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 2010.39:167-191. Downloaded from www.annualreviews.org by University of Sevilla on 11/25/10. For personal use only.
Statistical Research, Inc., Tucson, Arizona 85712; email: email@example.com
Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 2010. 39:167–91 First published online as a Review in Advance on June 14, 2010 The Annual Review of Anthropology isonline at anthro.annualreviews.org This article’s doi: 10.1146/annurev.anthro.012809.105118 Copyright c 2010 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved 0084-6570/10/1021-0167$20.00
economic anthropology, exchange, marketplaces, preindustrial economies
Markets are key contemporary institutions, yet there is little agreement concerning their history or diversity. To complicatematters, markets have been considered by different academic disciplines that approach the nature of such exchange systems from diametrically opposed perspectives that impede cross-disciplinary dialogue. This paper reviews the theoretical and methodological issues surrounding the detection, development, and signiﬁcance of markets in the preindustrial past. We challenge both the view that marketing isnatural and the perspective that market exchange is unique to modern capitalist contexts. Both of these frameworks fail to recognize that past and present market activities are embedded in their larger societal contexts, albeit in different ways that can be understood only if examined through a broadly shared theoretical lens. We examine the origins, change, and diversity of preindustrialmarkets, calling for multiscalar, cross-disciplinary approaches to investigate the long-term history of this economic institution.
[B]road concepts such as “markets” and “states,” or “socialism” and “capitalism,” do not take us very far in thinking about patterns of order in human society . . . . Markets are diverse and complex entities. Markets for different types of goods and services maytake on quite different characteristics. Some may work well under impersonal conditions. Others may depend upon personal considerations involving high levels of trust among trading partners. In other words, the options are much greater than we imagine, and we can see this is true if we don’t allow our minds to be trapped within nar-
Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 2010.39:167-191. Downloaded fromwww.annualreviews.org by University of Sevilla on 11/25/10. For personal use only.
rowly constrained intellectual horizons. (Ostrom 2003, p. 1)
[W]e turned to look at the great market place and the crowds of people that were in it, some buying and others selling, so that the murmur and hum of their voices and words that they used could be heard from more than a league off. Some of thesoldiers among us who had been in many parts of the world, in Constantinople, and all over Italy, and in Rome, said that so large a market place and so full of people, and so regulated and arranged, they had never beheld before (D´az del Castillo ı 1956, pp. 218–19).
Upon entering the Basin of Mexico in the sixteenth century, D´az del Castillo and ı other Spanish conquerors were awestruck by thebustling central Aztec marketplace at Tlatelolco, which shared an island location with the Aztec imperial capital, Tenochtitl´ n a (now Mexico City). Another account (Lopez ´ de Gomara 1966, p. 160) related that this mar´ ketplace was “so large . . . that it will hold seventy thousand or even one hundred thousand people, who go about buying and selling . . . not only from the vicinity, but from...