The Chicken and the Quetzal: Incommensurate Ontologies and Portable Values in Guatemala's Cloud Forest
From Reciprocation to Replacement: Grading Use Values, Labor Power, and Personhood
2016. "From Reciprocation to Replacement: Grading Use Values, Labor Power, and Personhood", The Chicken and the Quetzal: Incommensurate Ontologies and Portable Values in Guatemala's Cloud Forest, Paul Kockelman
Download citation file:
This chapter analyzes practices underlying the institution of replacement—namely, house building, civil-religious elections, vengeance, loans, illness cures, adultery, and namesakes. Such practices involve the substitution of one entity for another entity, insofar as these entities have shared properties, and insofar as they hold a role in an obligatory position. It also analyzes practices of grading (such as “this bag is very heavy”) in comparison to practices of quantification (such as “this bag weighs fifty pounds”). Through the lens of grading, it analyzes replacement as a process whereby substances get utilized, unitized, and numericalized, or qualified and quantified more generally. And it theorizes this local articulation of use value in terms of labor power (or potentia, more generally) and personhood (as a particular kinding of human potentia).