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  A system of mutual exchange, reciprocity was one of three forms of economic integration identified by Karl Polanyi and linked with a characteristic spatial pattern: \'Reciprocity denotes movements between correlative points of symmetrical groupings\' (in Dalton, 1968). This emphasis on symmetry was intended to distinguish reciprocity from other forms of exchange, notably redistribution, and was repeated by Harvey (1973) in his equation of reciprocity with egalitarian societies which were incapable of sustaining the concentration of a surplus required for the emergence of urbanism. But other versions of exchange theory have emphasized that reciprocity need not entail consensus (see Lebra, 1975), and indeed exchange theory — the modern development of which is usually attributed to Homans (1961) and Blau (1964) — has provided a much more elaborate typology of transactions than Polanyi\'s original sketches. (DG)

References Blau, P. 1964: Exchange and power in social life. New York: John Wiley. Dalton, G., ed., 1968: Primitive, archaic and modern economics: essays of Karl Polanyi. Boston: Beacon Press. Harvey, D. 1973: Social justice and the city. London: Edward Arnold; Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Homans, G. 1961: Social behaviour: its elementary forms. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Lebra, T. 1975: An alternative approach to reciprocity. American Anthropologist 77: 550-65. Sahlins, M. 1974: Stone age economics. London: Tavistock; Chicago: Aldine, ch. 5.

Suggested Reading Ekeh, P. 1974: Social exchange theory: the two traditions. London: Heinemann.



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