Anthropology Reflection Essay 2

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Brian Spooner’s article “Weavers and Dealers: Authenticity and Oriental Carpets” and Clifford Geertz’s article “The Bazaar Economy: Information and Search in Peasant Marketing” cover uncertainty and authenticity in local and international markets. Spooner’s article covers the origins of Oriental carpets and how authenticity and buyers’ locations have changed the commodity’s appeal. This article centers on the history of Oriental carpets and their weavers, symbolism, and evolution. Geertz’s article focuses on how uncertainty works in the bazaar market and how it affects sales transactions. Geertz conducted his study in Morocco and explained the way bazaar markets worked and how they functioned as an economic system. Despite their economic differences, both articles show how people used the notions of authenticity and uncertainty in their marketplaces. The bazaar market is uncertain about price and value of goods; however, Geertz argues that uncertainty may help this market work. Geertz states, “The level of ignorance about everything from product quality and going prices to market possibilities and production costs is very high, and much of the way in which the bazaar functions can be interpreted as an attempt to reduce such ignorance for someone, increase it for someone, or defend someone against it. These ignorances mentioned above are known ignorances, not simply matters concerning which information is lacking” (Geertz 29). Geertz proposes the bazaar can influence someone’s ignorance, either positively or negatively. In this instance, the parties cannot interpret, “ignorances” as lack of knowledge because Geertz argues the parties are aware of “ignorances.” Despite a buyer or seller not knowing specific information a... ... middle of paper ... ...may not be familiar with the meaning and authenticity of the products. While there are critical differences in the transactions involving Oriental carpets and those in bazaar markets, the underlying themes of authenticity and uncertainty are partly the nature of the transactions. The questions surrounding the authenticity of information shared among buyers and sellers allow bazaar markets to operate. Western buyers of Oriental carpets are in “search for authenticity”; however, the unknowns of its authenticity are arguably part of the process and may affect the sale of products. Buyer or sellers can use authenticity and uncertainty toward their advantage or disadvantage in either marketplace. Although the products sold in bazaars may differ from products sold in international markets, the nature of people’s desires and interactions is what define these markets.
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