Summary Of Carol Stack's All Our Kin

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People never realize the luxuries they have until it’s lost, only to appreciate it when it’s gone. Many humans lead comfortable lives focused on themselves, and being unaware of other people’s struggles. As time progresses, a blind eye is turned to social problems like poverty and racism. With society creating broad generalizations and stereotypes to poor urban minorities. In Carol Stack’s book, All Our Kin, she explains her analysis of The Flats, a poor African-American neighbourhood in Jackson Harbour. The book describes the residents’ survival plans and their large dependence on kinship networks. Covering topics like the importance of swapping, the obligations to trade, personal kindred relationships, and the custom of domestic networks…show more content…
(pg. 33) When the residents swap “the limited supply of finished material goods in the community is redistributed among networks of kinsmen and the community,” this collaboration allows the residents to obtain supplies and resources, and is an important concept in a community where goods are finite. (pg. 33) This is form of controlled trading, and creates an exchange cycle within The Flats. The people in the community would give their money, offer their time, and their properties to others, with the expectation their good will be reciprocated whenever it’s needed. Swapping between the residents help maintain the basic everyday needs like consuming food, despite having to pay high-priced costs such rent, utilities, and other expenses in The Flats. The people depend on the “collective power within kin-based exchange networks” to attain their daily needs. (pg. 33) Carol Stack points out that swapping is a very complicated system, and without continuous trading throughout the community, families wouldn’t have needed resources to obtain and further the flow. The recirculation of resources is important in a community where there is little possibility to save money for buying more goods and…show more content…
Which is well explained by Ruby Banks when she said how “everything that goes around comes around.” (Page 42) The method of exchanging items connects individuals into interpersonal relationships, by prolonging and strengthening the kinship ties. The residents relies on this form of mutual exchange because the “cooperating networks share many goals constituting a group identity-goals so interrelated that the gains and losses of any of them are felt by all ,” and heavily affects their chances of survival. (pg. 42) Swapping is the most common way for residents to interact and build better relationships with each other, and forms social bonds which connect individuals. With this logic, the idea for swapping is not only to compensate for survival in harsh environments but has another purpose as the chain for making strong social ties that link members of the community together. As everyone cooperates with the “process of exchange, people become immersed in a domestic web of a large number of kinfolk who can be called upon for help and who can bring others into the network.” (pg. 44) When everyone is involved in the social networks, the exchanges between one another allow friends to be kin. It allows everyone in the community to help each other have enough money to pay for necessities, only if everyone works together and adapts to the struggle of

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