Tag: overlapping consensus

Excerpt: Allison Truitt, Hot Loans and Cold Cash in Saigon

When Mr. Thang approached me for money the first time, he did so cautiously, explaining that he needed a hundred dollars to purchase material for school uniforms and pay tuition for his two daughters in high school. At the end of his story, he punctuated his story with a “what do you think of that,” as if he did not quite believe it himself. The image of his school-age daughters caught me off-guard. I quickly convinced myself that I was learning something from him and could — perhaps should — pay him for our conversations as I had paid others for more formal language instruction. So I became complicit in the economy of intimacy in which stories could be exchanged for cash, but without ever outright acknowledging what we each thought the money represented.

Allison Truitt, “Hot Loans and Cold Cash in Saigon,” in Money: Ethnographic Encounters, ed. Stefan Senders and Allison Truit (Berg: 2007), p.60.

Excerpt: Viviana Zelizer, The Social Meaning of Money

[…] For instance, did the social workers’ bestowal of money involve the right to tell families how to spend? Or did charitable income, once it entered the households of the poor, become their property?

The poor, too, had their own systems for earmarking household monies, not just for good times, but for a whole range of expenses; rent money was not the same as food money, and insurance was kept apart from a church donation. Even personal monies were differentiated; a son’s personal-spending allowance was treated quite differently from his sister’s, or from their father’s saloon money or his carfare. When poor families could afford it, they often set money aside for fraternal organizations or other mutual-aid societies, or, in the case of immigrants, earmarked certain monies to be sent to their families abroad. […]

From Viviana Zelizer, The Social Meaning of Money (BasicBooks: 1994), p.171.