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Book Review The Deadly Politics Of Giving: Exchange And Violence At Ajacan, Roanoke, And Jamestown,

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Chapter Summary

This section presents the review of Seth Mallios' The Deadly Politics of Giving: Exchange and Violence at Ajacan, Roanoke, and Jamestown. Three early European settlements in North America-Ajacan, Roanoke and Jamestown- are the core case studies of Mallios' book. To European eyes, the actions of the native inhabitants of the areas they were trying to colonise could seem bafflingly opaque. For the majority of Algonquian tribes in what are now the Carolinas and Virginia areas, an elaborate system of gift exchange had developed as a means of bonding tribal groups together, maintaining the power of local elites, and, as Mallios believes possible, of redistributing wealth. Mallios' deceptively slender study covers a broad range of material admirably and concisely, and it acts as an effective synthesis of existing work on the nature of the gift-giving economy, as well as of the pioneering socio-anthropological work of Marcel Mauss and Claude Levi- Strauss.

Keywords: Ajacan; early European settlements; gift exchange system; Jamestown; Roanoke; Seth Mallios' book



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