Our Good Work’ or ‘the Devil’s Work’? Inequality, Exchange, and Card Playing among the Gende

Laura Zimmer-Tamakoshi

This chapter looks at Gende card playing and its responsiveness to a varied history of economic downturns and upswings, along with its multifaceted and creative uses. Card gambling has a role as a parallel exchange system that continues to help the Gende sustain their community by providing a means for less wealthy players increase their incomes, and acting as a platform for prospect-poor bachelors to display their self-control and mastery in card games. This has encouraged the flow of wealth and kept the traditional reciprocal exchange system act in the face of inequality and uncertainty. Today, more aggressive and acquisitive forms of card playing are disrupting the public peace in villages near large-scale mining activity and extreme inequality. Mine workers and their families and return migrants with aspirations of receiving landowner compensation from the mines, are playing to keep their salaries or live off gambling income while awaiting land royalties. The author discusses card playing ethics (which provides for the inclusion of women players) and gerrymandered genealogies relating to negotiations with mine owners.

Research Type(s)
Journal Article
Submitted by Toksave
March 25, 2021
Published in
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