Dados vol. 35 n. 1 Rio de Janeiro 1992

A Troca Silenciosa e o Silêncio dos Conceitos

Trajano Filho, Wilson


Certain concepts within the social sciences display a fragility that can be traced to a specific tension between theory and ethnography. In reflecting on this fragility, the article reviews the historical and anthropological literature on the concept of silent trades. It points out how and through what mechanisms this term of description has been transformed into a concept, one that the author shows to be fragile. The specific weakness of silent trade as a concept stems from the economistic bias that has marked a good share of anthropological thought on social exchange ln general. This bias leads scholars to focus solely on the flow of material goods and to overlook the meanings that relevant actors assign to objects of trade and to the act itself.

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A Troca Silenciosa e o Silêncio dos Conceitos