The Rediscovery of Reciprocity-Based Anthropology

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.7, 2018


The Rediscovery of Reciprocity-Based Anthropology



Zhao Xudong


Reciprocity has a core significance for understanding basic human living conditions: our societal nature is founded on reciprocal relations, and reciprocity also strengthens the ties between people. Reciprocity-based anthropology stresses the cultural logic of interaction between different groups. Fundamentally, it involves studying forms of the mutually beneficial relations of complementary differences. This perspective reconciles differences, creating a communicative space for diverse cultures’ coexistence, symbiosis and sharing. The various channels formed through human activity include cultural imports and exports marked by interdependence and mutual complementarity. The launching of the Belt and Road Initiative contains channels with multiple characteristics and functions, so research on this topic involves the analysis of new cultural patterns, that is, it involves research on society and culture based on pathways rather than locations.