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Haggling in India

Haggling in India

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book Page 131 Monday, July 16, 2007 9:47 PM

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Buying Souvenirs in Ladakh, North India
Alex Gillespie While I was on fieldwork in Ladakh, north India, in September 2001, many shopkeepers ceased to accept 500 Rupee notes due to an influx of forgeries. Five hundred Rupee notes, worth about six pounds sterling, are issued by moneychangers and are thus the tourists’ staple. Like other tourists, I worried if I had a stash of worthless forgeries. Newspapers and magazines published color spreads on how to distinguish real from fake banknotes. The main difference, we were told, was in the quality of a thin metal strip that ran down the note to the right of Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait. The strip was meant to be reflective silver, while on the fakes it was dull. We tourists examined our notes, but were unable to determine, to our own or anyone else’s satisfaction, whether we had authentic banknotes. With time the fear passed, and soon the shopkeepers, hoteliers, and restauranteurs were once again accepting our banknotes. What is it that gives money value? In a sense it is the metal strip, the texture of the rice paper, the fine resolution of the printing, and the watermark. But these details are secondary, for they serve only to guarantee something beyond the banknote itself, namely that the state bank authenticates the banknote as legal tender. Does this mean that a banknote that is not legal tender will not work? Of course not, a forged banknote, so long as it is well forged, is just as effective as a ”real” banknote. I do not know
Trust and Distrust: Sociocultural Perspectives, pages 131–152 Copyright © 2007 by Information Age Publishing All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.



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THE SOCIAL ORIGINS OF VALUE Simmel (1900/1978) begins The Philosophy of Money by looking at the nature of value. Value, he argues, does not arise through either utility or desire. Nonhuman animals may desire food, or use twigs to make a nest, but these things, Simmel states, do not have value for the animals concerned. He also disagrees with the economists who define the value of money in terms of the value of the material that comprises it, the cost of its production, or its rarity. For Simmel, to understand the value of money, one has to look beyond money itself and toward the matrix of social exchange relations in which money is embedded. Value, for Simmel, arises through exchangeability, and money is used to measure this exchangeability. However, the exchangeability of money can never be completely guaranteed. One can never be sure beforehand that the next person one meets will accept the exchangeability of a certain money. This is why, Simmel (p. 179) asserts, money requires an “element of social-psychological quasi religious faith.” The history of money, as presented by Simmel (1900/1978), is a movement toward the increasing abstraction of money away from being a commodity toward becoming a pure measure of credit, a “token.” That is to say, money, as it becomes over the historical timeframe more abstract, decreasingly guarantees its own value, for example by being gold, and increasingly has its value guaranteed by a third party, like a state bank or a community.

whether in Ladakh merchants either stopped accepting “real” money or began accepting “forged” money. The difference between a banknote that works and a banknote that does not work is not in either the qualities of the banknote itself, nor in the fact that it is guaranteed by a state bank, but resides primarily in the attitude of the community toward that banknote— will the next person accept the banknote? The reaction of the community toward a banknote is not self-evident; it must be taken on trust, and this trust is only justified once the banknote is passed on. Thus, the whole institution of money depends on trusting in the other. In this chapter I develop and explore a Meadian conception of value, namely that the value of money and also of goods depends largely on the attitude of the other. This is done through an analysis of tourists buying souvenirs in Ladakh from shopkeepers whom they do not trust. Specifically, I examine the representations that tourists have developed in order to master this problematic interaction, and argue that central to these representations is the problem of determining who to trust, and who not to trust.

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In the Other We Trust 133 When barter is replaced by money transactions a third factor is introduced between the two parties: the community as a whole, which provides a real value corresponding to money. (p. 177)

To the extent that the value of money derives from the mediation of the exchange relation by the community, money has token value. Although Simmel stresses that money can never become a pure token, because money always needs some material manifestation, it is the token aspect of money that is key to understanding money. Simmel’s contribution in presenting this theory is to radically separate the logic of money from the logic of commodities (Ingham, 2004). Money, for Simmel, does not work due to the value of the money itself, but according to what the money symbolizes for the community (i.e., the “token” value). The year after Simmel published his book, G. H. Mead (1901) reviewed it. While enthusiastic about the project, Mead states that the work is “wearisome” and “discouragingly massive”—which may say as much about Mead’s German as about Simmel’s book. Mead is enthusiastic about the project because he sees money as mediating “the relation of the individual to the community” (1901, p. 619). However, Mead is unable to add anything to Simmel’s analysis as he was still struggling to establish his own unique social psychological standpoint (Gillespie, 2004). Over two decades later, Mead, in his lecture on sympathy (lecture 39, 1934; see also 1925, pp. 267–268), returns to the question of value, and is able to significantly advance the theory. In this lecture, Mead briefly states his theory that the human mind is comprised of self, taking the attitude of the other toward self within a social act. In this way self becomes other to self in the act of mediating self’s own actions from the standpoint of other (i.e., self becomes self-aware) by reacting to self in the attitude of the other (for more details, see Farr, 1996). Mead then applies this theory to the exchange relation. In an exchange, Mead states, “the individual is taking the attitude of the other in so far as he is offering something to the other” (1934, p. 300). In order to offer something, self must be sympathetic to, or participate in, the other’s desire for the object and the other’s attitude of receiving the object. The social act of offering something contains both the attitudes of giving and receiving, and Mead’s argument is that self can only make an offer to the extent that self also participates in the attitude of receiving—otherwise, self does not know what he or she is doing. Specifically, Mead (p. 301) argues, the object “becomes valuable from the point of view of the other individual.” The remarkable thing about exchanging goods is that “each person is bringing to the market the things which he is not going to use” (p. 301). Exchanging goods is a symbolic, and uniquely human, activity. One brings to the market what one thinks someone else may use.

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How does one evaluate the value of goods for the other? The attitude, or desire, of the community toward various goods is objectified in the market price:
One cannot complete the process of bringing goods into a market except by developing means of communication. The language in which that is expressed is the language of money. (Mead, 1934, p. 302)

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To consider money as a language is radical. Money, or more precisely, a system of prices, can be described as an architecture of intersubjectivity (Rommetveit, 1974) that scaffolds the individuals to step out of their own interests and desires in order to consider goods from the standpoint of the community (i.e., to recognize their value). If an individual’s desire is less than that of the community, perhaps due to having an abundance of these goods, then there is profit to be made. Readers familiar with Mead’s theory of meaning will recognize that Mead has translated his theory of meaning into a theory of value. Just as the meaning of a gesture is the response of the other, now we see that the value of goods, or money, is determined by the response of the other. This is not a rash slippage on Mead’s part, but instead makes a crucial point: goods, artefacts, and money are no less significantly symbolic than gestures. For Mead, language, the system of significant symbols, refers to those gestures that evoke in self the same response that they evoke in others. That is to say, they are gestures that are meaningful to self in the same way that they are meaningful to others. Now the point is that goods and money also have this quality. We perceive goods and money not just through our own responses, but simultaneously through the response of the community. To say that goods and money are significantly symbolic is to say that we can respond to them simultaneously in our own attitude and with the attitude of the community. Returning to Simmel, we can see how Mead both extends and radicalizes Simmel’s theory. Mead extends the theory by specifying the social origin of value in the attitude of the other. And Mead radicalizes Simmel’s theory by extending this conception of value beyond money to all objects. Thus for Mead it is not only money that has “token” or “exchange” value, but all objects. Goods, artefacts, and commodities, indeed all objects, derive some aspect of their value from being guaranteed by a third party. In the present chapter, I use Mead’s theory of value to examine one peculiar exchange relation, namely tourists buying souvenirs in Ladakh. The reason for focusing on one interaction is to avoid studying trust as an abstract phenomenon (e.g., Fukuyama, 1995), and instead to examine its contextual dynamics. Within the frame of this interaction I will address a series of questions: What are the micro-strategies that merchants have for

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generating trust? How does tourist distrust arise within this exchange relation? What symbolic labor does the rupture of distrust produce? And finally, what symbolic forms do tourists elaborate in order to make familiar, and even master, untrustworthy shopkeepers?


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Ladakh, often referred to as “little Tibet” in guidebooks, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is in the northernmost part of India. It lies high in the Himalayas and is very sparsely populated. Ladakhis speak Ladakhi (closely related to Tibetan) and many of the younger generation speak English. Culturally, Ladakh has much in common with Tibet, including Mahayana Buddhism, social structure, and social practices. Until the 1960s, when a road was built to Ladakh, it used to take weeks in order to get over the Himalayas and into Ladakh (Rizvi, 1983). By road it is a two-day journey. Now, one can fly from Delhi, Srinagar, or Chandigarh to Ladakh in about an hour. In 1974 the Indian government opened areas of Ladakh up to tourism. And since the early 1980s there has been a steady influx of tourists to Ladakh. The scale of the impact of tourism on Ladakh is illustrated by Jina’s (1994) calculation that tourism accounts for 48% of the GNP of Ladakh. Tourists are led to Ladakh by representations of the Himalayas and traditional Buddhist culture (Adams, 1996; Dodin & Räther, 2001; Lopez, 1998). Once in Ladakh, tourists trek to remote villages, they visit old Buddhist monasteries, they climb mountains, they attend various festivals and cultural shows, and, as we will see, they buy souvenirs. Although tourists travel to Ladakh to engage with “traditional” Ladakhis, they meet a disproportionate number of hotel managers, waiters, and shopkeepers. Indeed one might say that money more than discourse is the dominant medium of interaction between tourists and Ladakhis. The prevalence of monetary exchanges causes some anxiety for tourists because it is dissonant with the motivation of many tourists to experience the so-called spiritual and nonmaterialist culture of Ladakh. Indeed, when they spoke to me about monetary exchanges with Ladakhis, I often felt that tourists were somewhat uncomfortable. In contrast, tourists were keen to tell me about the relations that they had with Ladakhis, which were not mediated by money. There is a massive asymmetry of wealth between tourists and Ladakhis. Many official jobs in Ladakh, in the army or in the government, pay less than £100 per month. At the lower end of the spectrum, many people work for much less. The consequence of this for tourists is that labor-intensive products and services are exceptionally cheap. In one sense this means that

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“Aladdin’s Cave” The most eye-catching buildings in Leh, the capital of Ladakh, are the “art palaces” and “Kashmir handcraft emporiums.” With names like “Aladdin’s Cave,” these shops spill a variety of treasures onto the pavement, including Tibetan and Kashmiri carpets (made of silk, wool, or artificial silk), pashmina shawls (pashmina is a very expensive textile made from the very fine hair found on high-altitude goats in Ladakh, but most of the shawls sold are synthetic fibers), “ancient” thangka (finely detailed religious paintings, often mass produced in Nepal), antique Buddha statues (in various metals, plasters, and plastics), “yak bone statues” (which I have never seen anywhere else in Ladakh), and jewelry (of various qualities). Figure 7.1 depicts some of these shops. From the tourist standpoint, these souvenirs are desirable, but the shopkeepers, as I will illustrate later, are viewed with suspicion. During the course of 11 months of fieldwork in Ladakh, spanning over 2 years, I became friendly with shopkeepers in two shops. I spent many hours
Figure 7.1. Souvenir shops spilling their wares onto the street.

Ladakh, like the rest of India, is a consumerist paradise for tourists. In Ladakh, tourists are served Italian and Mexican food, receive massages and Reiki healing and buy clothes and jewelry in contemporary fashions, at prices a fraction of what they would pay at home. Tourist demand leads the market (Ritzer & Liska, 1997). But the power relation is not one-sided: there are many astute souvenir sellers who profit from tourists, and consequently many tourists who, when they fly out of India, have to pay excess luggage charges for their hoards of souvenirs.

charges for a hoard of suvenirs of dubious value.

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in their shops passing the time, and occasionally sitting in while tourists haggled with the shopkeepers. Slowly, after becoming convinced that they could sell me nothing, and in exchange for tips on selling to tourists, these two shopkeepers began to divulge some of the secrets of their trade. From the standpoint of the shopkeepers, “estimating the tourist” is essential. This means not only guessing the budget of the tourist, but also estimating their knowledge. While real and fake jewelry may look the same to a tourist, the difference in price can be massive. Given this discrepancy the best coup for a shopkeeper is to sell fake merchandise and real prices. In order to achieve such a coup, the shopkeepers test tourists’ knowledge. For example, the shopkeepers will usually bring out fake merchandise first in order to test whether the tourist recognizes that the merchandise is fake. Along with estimating the knowledge of the tourist, the shopkeeper must estimate the desires of the tourist. This is difficult because tourists often try to conceal their desire for a souvenir, and enquire about the price in a nonchalant fashion. But tourists cannot help “giving off” (Goffman, 1959) information. While the eyes of the tourist are on the merchandise, the eyes of the shopkeeper are on the tourist, especially upon his or her eyes. Shopkeepers are very attentive to second glances. Sometimes the shopkeepers I spoke to amazed me with their ability to glean information from tourists. Sherlock Holmes–like, they could read a tourist’s familiarity with India from their suntan and measure their attachment to a pashmina shawl by the duration of their stare. “Estimating the tourist” is perhaps easier than acquiring the tourists’ trust. If tourists do not trust the shopkeeper, then they are unlikely to make a purchase. As one shopkeeper said to me, “The main thing is to get trust first; once we get trust, then we get profit.” The process of establishing trust usually starts before the tourist has even entered the shop. Shopkeepers, when they have no customers in their shops, will sit out on the street trying to attract tourists. One common strategy is to offer very low prices. The shopkeepers do this in order to make tourists think that they have has very low prices and therefore are trustworthy. However, once inside the shop, prices creep up. Another way that tourists end up in these shops is by being brought in by a guide. Guides often tell their clients that the shop belongs to an uncle, cousin, or brother in an attempt to transfer the tourist’s trust from the guide onto the shopkeeper. In reality, however, the guides are usually receiving 15–30% commission. Once the tourist is inside the shop, the shopkeeper will usually try to establish a rapport and offer tea. Haas and Desran (1981) have argued that symbolic exchange, like giving gifts of tea, are a means of signaling and generating trust. However, because the tourists do not give any gifts in return, and therefore this is not an exchange, it is perhaps more accurate to conceive of this strategy as “altercasting” (Weinstein & Deutschberger,

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1963). That is to say, by giving tourists tea the shopkeepers try to define the situation as one of friendship, and thus draw out of tourists a reciprocal friendly attitude. From the tourist standpoint, however, this is often perceived as an attempt to create a feeling of indebtedness and thus does little to generate trust. A more subtle way of generating trust is through reverential treatment. When, for example, shopkeepers are trying to sell a fake thangka (a Buddhist religious painting), they will treat it with much respect. Their actions are slow. They unravel the rolled-up paintings with caution, and then carefully display them for tourists. This is particularly clever if one takes a Meadian perspective and assumes that the value of the thangka is determined by other people’s attitudes to the thangka. Tourists, by observing the shopkeeper’s attitude, and then by also adopting this reverential attitude when handling the thangka, are being encouraged to take for granted the high value of the thangka. The shopkeepers also have explicit ways of generating trust. When, for example, selling a pashmina shawl the shopkeepers often take a ring off their own finger and, while holding it out in front of the tourist, pull, with a flick, the shawl through the ring, and then look expectantly at the tourist implying that this proves that the shawl really is pashmina. They will say that only pashmina is so fine as to pass this test. The fact is that all the viscose, cotton, and synthetic shawls on sale in Ladakh will pass this test equally well. Another “empirical” test that the shopkeepers use when selling “yak bone” statues is to take a chip out of the underside of the base, and then burn it. They present the smouldering ember to the tourist, asking him or her to smell it, the assumption being that the tourist should be able to smell the difference between burning yak bone and some synthetic material. The efforts of the shopkeepers to establish trust are not unlike the efforts of countless monarchs who, in times past, have tried to establish trust in their coinage (Davies, 1994). A persistent problem with gold coinage was the tendency toward debasement, forgery, and size reduction. This, it should be said, was often done by the monarchs themselves in order to raise more money than they possessed. When this happened, the value of the coin, in terms of precious metal, would no longer guarantee itself as a viable medium of exchange, and inflation would set in. In order to guard against accepting a debased coin, people developed strategies for testing the quality of coinage. They would scratch, chip, compare, and weigh coins in order to assess both the quantity and the quality of the metal. These tests became central to establishing trust in a coinage, and, in England, became institutionalized early on. Since the mid 13th-century, coins produced by the Royal mints have been put on trial—the Trial of the Pyx. In this trial, 12 lawful citizens and 12 goldsmiths test and guarantee

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The Unfamiliar Attitude of the Other Many of the institutions that Western consumers take for granted, and that stabilize and guarantee the exchange relation, do not exist in Ladakh. Primary among these is the fixed price system. In Western high street

that the coins being produced meet the established criteria. The Trial of the Pyx still occurs every year. Historically, the outcome of these tests was public trust in the coinage, and an international reputation for the Pound as a “sterling” currency. Whether it is a gold coin or a pashmina shawl that is put on trial and tested, the underlying problem is the same. The value of the gold coin or pashmina shawl is not self-evident. The immediate materiality of the object does not guarantee itself and thus it needs verification. The “empirical” test is able to guarantee the attitude of the community toward the object because the empirical test promises that anyone who completes the test will arrive at the same result. In terms of the functioning of gold coin or the value of a pashmina shawl, it is not necessary that the tests divine whether the object is “really” pashmina or gold, the tests merely need to produce consistent results so as to engender the trust of the community. The same holds for establishing the authenticity of the 500 Rupee banknote on the basis of its watermark, texture, and metal strip. In order for the banknote to work, it is not necessary for these tests to establish that the banknote “really” originated from the State Bank of India, these tests only need to be sufficient to convince the next person that this is so. The tests that shopkeepers in Ladakh use to “prove” the authenticity of their merchandise illustrate little more than that most tourists know little about the properties of pashmina, silk, gold, and yak bone. One shopkeeper told me with unconcealed glee how he once sold a viscose shawl to a tourist (who thought the shawl was pashmina) by getting her to compare it to a real pashmina shawl. Pashmina is not as soft as many people think, and this tourist became convinced that the viscose shawl was smoother and thus genuine pashmina. However, it would be grossly misleading to think that the tourists are completely naive. They know enough to know that they are naive, and consequently become very cautious when approaching souvenir shops. In the tourists’ mind, these shops are like Venus flytraps and the chant of shopkeepers, “pashmina, gold, ancient thangka,” a siren’s call. They are tempting for tourists because they offer “authentic Ladakh” neatly packaged for tourist consumption. They are dangerous for tourists because they may lead to being “conned,” “scammed,” or “ripped-off.” Accordingly tourists are much more wary than Aladdin in entering into these caves.

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shops, goods have a price that is independent of the consumer. The price, which is usually stamped on goods, objectifies the attitude of the community toward that item. The market price represents the community’s desire for the item. Children growing up in the West assume these prices are inherent to the items themselves, and that any price change is “cheating” (Jahoda, 1984, p. 83). Adults do not expect these prices to vary too much, and thus are able to bracket out the possibility that they are paying any more than the next customer. The extent to which fixed prices are taken for granted is evident in the rarity with which customers try to bargain with cashiers. The price tag both reifies and fixes the attitude of the other. In the souvenir shops in Ladakh, however, there are no fixed prices. The most common response to the question “How much is this?” is “How much do you want to pay?”. Thus tourists are denied what they consistently want to know, namely, the attitude of the shopkeeper toward the desired item. Without some idea of this, tourists can barely begin to bargain. This rupture is compounded by the fact that tourists are also unfamiliar with the attitude of the Indian community toward the Indian currency. While one euro, pound, or dollar may have a clear and definite value to a tourist, 500 Rupees is likely to have a much more fuzzy value. Although tourists may know the value of 500 Rupees in their own currency, they are less likely to know the value of 500 Rupees to Indians. The question is, what can one expect to buy with 500 Rupees? Is this what a laborer would earn in an hour, in a day, or in a week? Because tourists are often bargaining for things that they have never encountered before, like yak bone carvings, thangkas, and pashmina shawls, they often resort to an estimation of the effort of production, and from there an estimate of the price. And it is for this reason that not knowing average wages makes it more difficult to estimate value and thus begin bargaining. In high-income countries, consumers not only put their trust in fixed prices but also in brands. Indeed, brands spend considerable resources in order to establish an image as trustworthy. Some brands are trusted for providing the highest quality, and others for providing the cheapest price. If one buys a Mercedes with leather seats it does not occur to most people to question whether the leather is genuine. Equally, if one buys a silk scarf from any major retailer, one rarely questions whether it is real silk. This type of trust allows consumers to bracket out questions of whether they might be buying a fake, overpriced, or poor quality product. The attitude of the community toward the brand is known, and this transfers onto the products that bear this brand. Thus through the brand a consumer can estimate the desirability of a new item from the standpoint of the community. However, in Ladakh there are no familiar brands, and thus no such guarantees. Tourists do not know the attitude of the community to this or that shop: every shopkeeper is equally unfamiliar.

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Nick: I wonder if they [the shopkeepers] sit around and brag about how much they have ripped tourists off Ros: Yeah, when you are in the shop, trying to buy something, and there is two people talking Ladakhi together, I mean just in the middle when you are discussing the price and that, its like now they are saying “Ha ha, she is going to buy it at that price!”. Nick: The thing is, I know they can see like how you judge the product, they wont sell you anything that is complete, like shit, they will sell you something nice, but raise the price a lot, if they know that you kind of know what it’s worth, they won’t, they are not going to sell you a linen carpet and tell you it is silk, or something like that, so you know, they are somewhat honest, but its how they make their living.

Finally, consumers have trust in consumer rights. Many brands, in highincome countries, guarantee that if the consumer is not “entirely satisfied,” the product can be returned for a full refund. Such consumer rights are backed up institutionally by a system of ombudsmen. Consumer interest groups and numerous regulatory bodies can be presumed to be acting behind the scenes to assess the various brands and shops, protecting the consumer’s interests. Although there are debates and domains of distrust, as with GM foods, cigarettes, and unhealthy foods, overall the institutions regulating products in high-income countries do convince the majority of consumers to trust in the products they buy. In Ladakh, the Jammu and Kashmir tourist office will usually resolve disputes in favor of tourists, but most tourists are not aware of this protection. And anyway, by the time a tourist discovers that their “antique” or “pashmina” is not what they had assumed, they are likely to be several thousand miles away. Thus the idea of “return and refund” does not apply, and the attitude of the other is again destabilized, for it is perceived to be unregulated. These four ruptures show how the attitude of the souvenir sellers, and the attitude of the Indian community, is opaque to tourists, and thus how destabilizing bargaining for souvenirs is for tourists. In the course of my fieldwork in Ladakh I conducted naturalistic group discussions with tourists asking about souvenir buying. These were groups of tourists sitting in restaurants, cafés, and bars in Ladakh whom I approached and asked if I could talk to them. Although the tourists in Ladakh are heterogeneous because they come from across the world, there are also striking similarities in their attitudes. One such widely shared attitude is an uncertainty, a distrust and even anxiety about the souvenir sellers. This point of tension is illustrated in the following exchange:

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Differentiating Ladakhis When faced with a rupture in the familiar and taken for granted, when the unfamiliar is on the horizon, people engage in symbolic labor in order to make the unfamiliar familiar (Moscovici, 1984). The representations thus elaborated enable people to orient themselves within, and master, their material and social world, and to communicate with each other about their world (Moscovici, 1973). The rupture which I am examining is a shift in the trust/distrust boundary, specifically through the attitude of the other being unfamiliar and potentially manipulative. In the following analysis I aim to articulate the ways in which tourists have attempted to master, and make actionable, the uncertain world of souvenir buying by differentiating Ladakhis. By differentiating Ladakhis according to their attitude toward tourists, tourists constructed a way of deciding who to trust and who to distrust. First, tourists make a clear distinction between those shops that are oriented to tourists and those that are not. Often tourists feel that their most

The intentions of the shopkeepers are cloaked in a foreign language. Because the tourists are not familiar with the attitudes of the shopkeepers, and because this attitude is not transparent, the mind of the shopkeepers becomes a black box that generates distrust. Consequently the tourists become unsure of the value of the products they intend to buy: Is the price to high? Is the product a fake? This questioning of the attitude of the Ladakhis, however, causes a second-level rupture, for it comes into conflict with the representation of Ladakhis as spiritual and honest people. Nick, in his second utterance, tries to reconcile the idea of Ladakhis “ripping tourists off” with Ladakhis being “somewhat honest.” The crux of the rupture for the tourists is: What is the attitude of the shopkeepers? Are they laughing at tourists? Or are they honest? Thus we are back at the attitude of the other. As Mead theorized, the value of the souvenirs is not assessed by tourists simply examining the desired object, for a large portion of the value is not to be found in the object itself, but in the attitude of others toward the object. The attitude of the shopkeeper has the power to make the price too high and the souvenir real or fake: the attitude of the shopkeeper can literally turn pashmina into viscose and vice versa. The tourists’ evaluation of themselves and the souvenir they are buying is uncertain because the attitude of the shopkeepers is uncertain. The questions I now want to ask are, How have tourists domesticated this unfamiliarity? What symbolic structures have they constructed to create some degree of mastery over this problematic relation?

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authentic souvenirs come from shops that are not oriented to tourists, as the following exchange illustrates: Me: Have you bought anything from here? Mark: Yeah, the usual! (Everyone laughs.) John: Actually, the best thing we bought today was the tea because we went to a, like, a little tea shop with our guide today, and there was like completely no tourists, like a tiny little shop, and we drank the Kashmiri tea with the cinnamon in it, and we ended up buying the dried tea, and so that was a bit more. Mark: Because its useful as well. John: Yeah, more, away from the beaten track, because we had actually gone and found our own little thing.

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Mark’s first utterance in this exchange illustrates his reflective awareness of himself as a tourist just like any other tourist. He knows that his souvenirs are no more special than the next tourist’s souvenirs. John then tries to differentiate the group from other tourists. While other tourists buy “the usual,” these tourists went to “a tiny little shop” with “completely no tourists” and bought the unusual souvenir of dried tea leaves. The important thing about this shop is that it is not a touristy shop, it is not oriented to tourists, and thus is more authentic. However, many tourists are not satisfied with buying tea leaves and other such souvenirs, and are tempted by what they see in the souvenir shops. The items available in the souvenir shops are not available in nontouristy shops; the items are tempting precisely because they orient to tourists (and not to Ladakhis, who never buy anything in the souvenir shops). So for those tourists who want “the usual” and must enter “Aladdin’s cave,” how do they cope? The second differentiation that tourists make is between different types of shopkeepers. Simply put, tourists distinguish “traditional Ladakhis” from modern, young male Ladakhis who wear Western dress and try to profit from tourists. I have heard tourists refer to these latter Ladakhis as “lizardmen”— presumably because they tend to wear brightly colored, skin-tight T-shirts and wraparound sunglasses, which give them the superficial resemblance of a lizard. Also, the idea of a lizard, being quick and shifty, seems to capture the attitude that tourists attribute to these young men. It is these “lizardmen” who are assumed to cheat tourists and to then laugh at how much a tourist paid for a fake souvenir. The following exchange illustrates the manipulative attitude that is attributed to these young men, and that differentiates them from the expected average Ladakhi.

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“Madam just looking” refers to the shopkeepers who approach tourists in the street, inviting them into their shops, offering them to look without any obligation to buy. At first Julie indicates that she is disappointed with this aggressiveness, and then she adds to this the idea that these same shopkeepers “lie” about the pashmina shawls. The image of the lying, cheating, manipulative, and pushy “lizardman” comes into conflict with the idealized image of Ladakhis, and with some self-satire Julie then says that she “expected everyone to be happy, smiling, honest Ladakhi people.” This is not to say that shopkeepers cannot be “happy, smiling, honest Ladakhi people.” Sometimes tourists attribute this attitude to women shopkeepers, as the following exchange illustrates. Me: Everyone: Claire: Shelly: Have you bought things? Yeah. With the intent to buy more! Yeah, we went to one shop, and the women were just so nice in there, and helpful, and did not mind if we wanted to pull out lots of different colors, they put them away again, and we asked them lots of questions, they did not mind at all, and still they were not pushy, Mary: And they were like “come back, come back.” Shelly: And we, em, we feel we will go back to that shop. The women, Shelly says, “were just so nice” and “not pushy” (like the “lizardmen”). These women shopkeepers did not mind the tourists browsing, and happily put away the numerous things that the tourists had pulled out to look at. These tourists are keen to return to this shop and buy more things, as they clearly feel comfortable in this shop; there is no distrust. In Ladakh there is much more pressure on Ladakhi women to wear traditional dress than on the men. It is seen as somewhat shameful for a woman to wear Western dress, and there have even been attempts to ban the young women from wearing jeans. This means that the women shop-

Julie: Em, what disappoints me about Ladakh? Oh, the fact that the shopkeepers are so, em, saying “madam just looking” oh, and the fact that, yeh, they lie about the pashmina. Me: They lie about what? Sara: Pashmina. Julie: Pashmina, they have acrylic ones on display and say “real pashmina, feel it, feel it,” and you say “that is not real pashmina” and go “yes it is” and “no its not—that’s acrylic” and they go “ok, it is, but come inside and look at real ones” and its like “hmm” (pause) I expected everyone to be happy, smiling, honest Ladakhi people.

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Roger: We learned this the hard way in Ethiopia, if you walk down a street with purpose, rather than saying “piss off,” they will leave you alone, if you look ditheryMary: It’s the look of confidence. Roger: Even if you give them eye contact they will think they are on to you. The attitude that tourists have toward the “lizardmen” is almost one of confrontation, in the sense that formalized strategies are strictly applied and the “lizardmen” are positioned as the enemy. Shopkeepers on the side of the street, hailing tourists with “hallo my friend” and “which country my friend” are ignored by the majority of tourists. The attitude is similar to the way in which tourists walk past beggars. When bargaining, tourists have similarly confrontational attitudes. For example, some tourists told me that they would never pay more than a third of the asking price for a souvenir. When observing tourists bargain, it is surprising the emotion with which some tourists bargain—every Rupee gains huge significance. Many tourists, if they don’t get their desired price, leave the shop and go and try again in the next shop. Some tourists even say to these shopkeepers that they are going shop-to-shop to compare the prices, and that they will buy from the cheapest shop. This strategy is very clever, for it pits the shopkeepers against each other. But to carry the strategy through, the tourists have to be quite ruthless in their attitude toward the “lizardmen.” When tourists are buying from the “traditional Ladakhis,” their strategies are quite different. These shopkeepers, who are endowed with the most idealized aspects of tourists’ representation of Ladakhis as traditional, spiritual, and honest, call out of tourists respect, politeness, and even gentleness. These exchanges are filled with smiles. This attitude is illustrated in the following extract:

keepers are usually wearing traditional dress, while the male shopkeepers, the “lizardmen,” almost never do. Thus I would argue that the categorization that tourists are making is not male–female Ladakhis per se, but rather modern–traditional Ladakhis. Representations are not merely ideal constructions, they are entwined with practice, and are often embedded in practice (Duveen, 1994; Jodelet, 1989/1991). The representations of “lizardman” and “traditional Ladakhi” imply different actions. When tourists see a “lizardman” in the street, standing in front of his shop, they will often deliberately try not to look at the shop, because they feel that if they do look at any of the items on display, the shopkeeper will, through his manipulative charms, entice them into the shop.

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Ann: It is really funny though, I find it really hard to haggle with Tibetan women, because they are really meek and mild and nice, and you feel really guilty if you say a different price, and they are like “oh, em,” whereas with the men you are just “oh, no I’m not buying it!” (pause) and then I do. This tourist refers to the “Tibetan” women. Often tourists conflate Ladakhis with Tibetans, which illustrates the extent to which tourist imagination of Ladakh is bound up with Tibet. In this extract the tourist transfers the attitude she might have if she were a guest in an elderly Tibetan woman’s house to the women selling souvenirs in Ladakh. The attitude, as she herself says, is completely different to the attitude she has toward “the men.” The different representations of the shops and shopkeepers set up different paths of action. While the souvenir shops may be domains of uncertainty, these differentiations circumscribe that uncertainty, and provide tourists with ways of negotiating that uncertainty. The representations of the “lizardmen” and the “traditional women” enable tourists to differentiate Ladakhis quite easily. It is not only tourists who “give off” information. From the standpoint of these representations, Ladakhis also unwittingly “give off” information. A Ladakhi who either approaches a tourist in the street, who tries to hail the tourist into a shop, or who is wearing modern dress is likely to be categorized as a “lizardman.” On the other hand, a Ladakhi who does not seem concerned about money, who is not pushy, and who does not seem to be overly influenced by tourists in terms of dress is likely to be categorized as a traditional, and therefore a trustworthy Ladakhi. And the categorization made then leads tourists to interact with that Ladakhi in different ways. Some of the shopkeepers seem to be aware of the tourists’ representations. In a couple of the more expensive souvenir shops the shopkeepers, both male and female, wear traditional dress. And I know that several of the shops that have women shopkeepers are not owned by the women, but are owned by men, who I suspect, but cannot confirm, staff their shops with women in order to orient to the tourists’ representations. Such orienting to tourists reminds us that the rupture, namely the attitude of the shopkeepers, to which tourists are adapting, is not static, but is itself reacting to the attitude of the tourists. This fact underscores that it is the attitude of the other that is at the center of the rupture, and that is consequently being symbolically elaborated, mastered, and made familiar. The issue for tourists is not whether to trust in absolute terms, but rather who to trust specifically: Who is a liar and who is trustworthy? Through categorizing Ladakhis as either traditional or as modern, tourists have brought order to an otherwise uncertain situation. We might say that,

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in a practical sense, they have mastered the attitude of these shopkeepers. However, this is different to being familiar with the shopkeeper motivations and being able to explain why some “happy, smiling, honest Ladakhi people” have become lizardmen. Tourists’ concerns go beyond the mere practicalities of how to act, and they have elaborated a narrative that makes explicable the emergence of lying, cheating, and laughing lizardmen.

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“Pestiferous Moneye” Tourists domesticate the manipulative intent of the “lizardmen” by appeal to an old and established representation, namely that they have been corrupted by money. In the following extract, a group of tourists are discussing why so many restaurants in Ladakh are run by Nepalese people. The Nepalese have more experience with tourists than Ladakhis, and are perceived to be more savvy with tourists’ likes and dislikes. The question raised is why Ladakhis do not follow suit and establish their own touristy restaurants and profit from the tourists. David: Here all the [Nepalese] restaurants are quite new, aren’t they? [Orienting to AG] Ray: But the Ladakhis they don’t learn from them, they don’t say “I don’t have money, so I could do this as well”? Louise: But, do they actually want money? Ray: Of course they want money. Louise: But we just said that they are happy being farmers. Ray: But at the end of the day, like every culture that has been exposed to money, slowly, slowly becameLouise: Materialistic. Ray: Yeah, materialistic, corrupted. This exchange positions Ladakhis as the latecomers to modern capitalism. Not only is it assumed that Ladakhis do not have money, but it is also assumed that they are slow to “learn” from the Nepalese. Developing on the idea that Ladakhis are outside modern capitalism, Louise asks, “But, do they actually want money?”. The idea is that the Ladakhis “are happy being farmers.” Contrary to Louise, Ray says that “they want money.” The disjunction of attitude between Louise and Ray, is the disjunction between the ideal image of the Ladakhis and the manifestation of Ladakhis as greedy and manipulative shopkeepers. Ray explains the disjunction by pointing to a developmental transition: the Ladakhis who have “been exposed to money” are becoming “materialistic” and “corrupted.” The following extract illustrates a similar idea:

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Before the conflict, Kashmir was one of the main tourist destinations in India. Tourists would go to the valley and stay in houseboats on Dal lake. This, Simone says, made the Kashmiris rich and thus “angry and violent” and “aggressive.” Simone is not using this to explain the conflict in Kashmir, but rather to explain his experience of the Kashmiri people being very “aggressive” in selling souvenirs to him when he was in Kashmir. Related to the idea that money is “corrupting” Ladakhis, are tourist utterances that say that tourists “spoil” and “pollute” Ladakh, and that modernity is “devouring” Ladakh. These various utterances point toward the iconic core of the representation of Ladakhis. Repeatedly we find the idea that Ladakh is becoming degraded, and the people are developing rapacious greed, through contact with tourists and particularly tourist money. Simply put, money, brought into Ladakh by tourists, increases Ladakhis’ desires, which in turn makes Ladakhis cheat, manipulate, and laugh at tourists. Usually at the center of a social representation one finds one or more thema (Marková, 2003; Moscovici & Vignaux, 1994/2000). A thema is a root metaphor, which usually exists in opposition to some other metaphor, and which organizes the whole discourse (Holton, 1975). In the present case we are dealing with the opposition between trust and distrust, and what we find is that the elaboration of this representation weaves in other themata, like the oppositions traditional/modern, spiritual/materialistic, and pure/corrupted. The elaborated representation is drawing upon a rich vein of symbolic thought, in Western cultures, that stretches back centuries. During the Romantic period, oppositions between “the natural” and “the modern” were common. For example, there is Reausseu’s image of the “noble savage.” But even before then, during the Renaissance, one can find this opposition. For example, Peter Martyr d'Anghera, an Italian Humanist who wrote some of the earliest reports on what is now Mexico, described the indigenous people as living without

Simone: In Kashmir they got so much [tourist] money 20 years ago, in Dal lake, with the houseboats, the houseboats were a dream, they were wonderful, and they were getting rich, and now they are all frustrated, all frustrated and angry and violent [pause] aggressive, for example, in Italy it is also like this, in south Italy there was a lot of tourists, and the people loved money and they wasted everything, and here, if they start to love money, tourist money, then there is a big risk. Michelle: Yeah, the risk is a big risk.

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In the Other We Trust 149 pestiferous moneye, the seed of innumerable myscheves. So that if we shall not be ashamed to confesse the truthe, they seem to lyve in the goulden worlde of the which owlde writers speake so much: wherin men lyved simplye and innocentlye without inforcement of lawes, without quarrelling Iudges and libelles, contente onely to satisfie nature, without further vexation for knowledge of things to come. (d’Anghera, 1555, cited in Elliott, 1970, p. 26)

For Peter Martyr d’Anghera, “pestiferous moneye,” laws, quarrels, and knowledge are opposed to a Golden Age of simplicity, innocence, and contentment. It is quite surprising the parallels between such an utterance and the representations being elaborated by tourists in Ladakh. It is as if there is some deep cultural narrative, which serves as a template and into which “traditional” and “innocent” others are anchored. Maybe at an unconscious level the narrative is anchored in the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden: Money is the apple and tourists are the serpent? Also in the Bible one can find a negative representation of money. The Bible states that “the love of money is the root of all evil” because it can lead one away from the faith (I Timothy 6:10). In effect, this means that greed is the root of all evil. Perhaps more interesting than this is the common phrase “money is the root of all evil.” This phrase presumably derives from the biblical quote above, but it is significantly changed. In this common phrase, it is not greed but money itself that is the root of all evil. I would suggest that this change in meaning indicates a “preferred persistent tendency” (Bartlett, 1932, p. 258) in the West’s imagination of money, towards conceiving of money as evil and corrupting. (That is not to say that this is the only preferred persistent tendency in our imagination of money. The retort, that “the lack of money is the root of all evil,” is often heard.) Having begun with a theory of the value of money, that the value of money originates in the attitude of the other, we now find ourselves dealing with a representation of money: money as divisive and corrupting. Central to the representation is not simply money, but the corrupting effect of money on the attitude of the other: Money is pestiferous, like pestilence the desire for money is contagious, and as it spreads it leaves moral decay in its wake. Money, according to this representation, turns people (usually other people) into cheaters, liars, schemers, and scammers. Thus ironically, money that relies upon trust to function, is, for tourists, an objectification of the cause of distrust. According to the theory in order for money to work, one must trust in the future response of the other, but money, according to the representation outlined, corrupts the attitude of the other, thus leading one to distrust the other.

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In the Other We Trust There is a movement among some atheists in the United States to cross out the phrase “in God we trust” on every banknote that passes through their hands. They argue that such a declaration is not only unconstitutional, but does not represent the voices of many in the United States who do not trust in god. Perhaps a more inclusive slogan would be “in the other we trust,” for no one can pass on a banknote without trusting in the other. Equally, no tourist can buy a souvenir without trusting in the other. Not only does the tourist have to trust in the efficacy of money, but they must also trust in the attitude of the shopkeeper, because, so long as tourists want souvenirs, they need to engage in exchange relations with Ladakhi shopkeepers. One of the arguments that I have made is that it is not only money that has, returning to Simmel’s term, “token” value, but that souvenirs, and by extension all objects, also have “token” value. Token value derives not from the object itself, but from the attitude of others toward that object. The present study clearly demonstrates that tourists do not evaluate souvenirs simply by examining the souvenir itself. The value of the souvenir, like the value of a banknote, is not to be found in the thing itself, but in the attitude of others toward it. This is why tourists have put so much effort into elaborating the attitude of the shopkeepers—for they hold the key to the value of the souvenir. However, the shopkeepers are not the only ones who constitute the value of the souvenir. The tourists’ home audience, like family and friends, are also central. It is when we consider these relations that we see the larger economy within which souvenirs are embedded. Exchange relations are not confined to the domain of money. According to Bourdieu (1986, 1990), money is only one form of capital; there is also symbolic capital (the legitimacy to make certain claims) and cultural capital (the habits of a certain class). Bourdieu argues that people can exchange one form of capital for another. Thus, in the case of tourists buying souvenirs, I suggest that they are spending economic capital in order to gain, primarily, symbolic capital. The souvenir provides the tourists with the legitimacy to make a certain identity claim (i.e., as a person who has been to “little Tibet” and has experienced “happy, smiling, honest Ladakhi people”). The souvenir will decorate the tourist’s home, and may become a central prop in identity narration. But all the responses of the tourist’s audience are in the future. Just as the efficacy of money depends on the next exchange, so the efficacy of the souvenir depends on the next reaction to it. Because these value constitutive responses are in the future, trust is essential. The tourist returns home with souvenirs, trusting, or at least hoping, that they will elicit favorable responses.

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Adams, V. (1996). Tigers of the Snow and Other Virtual Sherpas: An Ethnography of Himalayan Encounters. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Bartlett, F. C. (1932). Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education (pp. 241–258). New York: Greenwood Press Bourdieu, P. (1990). The Logic of Practice. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Davies, G. (1994). A History of Money: From Ancient Times to the Present Day. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Dodin, T., & Räther, H. (Eds.). (2001). Imagining Tibet: Perceptions, Projections, and Fantasies. Boston: Wisdom Publications. Duveen, G. (1994). Unanalysed residues: representations and behaviours. Papers on Social Representations, 3(2), 1–6.

One of the ways to try to ensure a favorable future response, is to carefully select the souvenirs that one buys. And this is exactly what we see the tourists doing. In order to cope with the uncertainties of the exchange relation, they have elaborated the distinction between “traditional Ladakhis” and “lizardmen.” It may seem as if this representation, which I have described, is all about distrust. It accounts for both how and why shopkeepers cheat tourists. The representation of the “lizardman” provides plenty of reasons for not trusting Ladakhis. If we were thinking about trust from the standpoint of Fukuyama (1995, p. 7), we might conclude that tourists have very low “levels” of trust. But focusing on the distrust, which the representation sustains, obscures an important fact: the representation is fundamentally about enabling trust. By examining the content of the representation, and how it is embedded in practices, we can see that it leads tourists away from some shopkeepers while guiding them into the hands of Ladakhis who are perceived to be trustworthy. And when the tourist must negotiate with a “lizardman,” the representation provides the tourist with strategies to guard against manipulation. In short the representation has been constructed to allow the buying of souvenirs to proceed with minimum uncertainty and distrust. The problematic that tourists have elaborated is not the abstract question “to trust or not to trust,” or what “level” of trust to have. Rather, tourists have been elaborating the more subtle and practical issue of whom to trust. In so far as tourists want souvenirs and symbolic capital, complete distrust is not an option. The question of who is a “lizardman” and who is a “traditional Ladakhi” is not a question of whether to trust the other, but rather which other to trust.

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Elliott, J. H. (1970). The Old World and the New: 1492–1650. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Farr, R. M. (1996). The Roots of Modern Social Psychology: 1874–1954. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Fukuyama, F. (1995). Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity. New York: Free Press. Gillespie, A. (2004). The mystery of G. H. Mead's first book. Theory and Psychology, 14(3), 423–425. Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. London: Penguin. Haas, D. F., & Desran, F. A. (1981). Trust and symbolic exchange. Social Psychology Quarterly, 44, 3–13. Holton, G. (1975). On the role of themata in scientific thought. Science, 188, 328–334. Ingham, G. (2004). The Nature of Money. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Jahoda, G. (1984). The development of thinking about socio-economic systems. In H. Tajfel (Ed.), The Social Dimension (Vol. 1, pp. 69–87). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press and Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme. Jina, P. S. (1994). Tourism in Ladakh Himalaya. New Delhi: Indus Publishing Company. Jodelet, D. (1989/1991). Madness and Social Representations (G. Duveen, Trans.). London: Harvester/Wheatsheaf. Lopez, D. S. (1998). Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Marková, I. (2003). Dialogicality and Social Representations: The Dynamics of Mind. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Mead, G. H. (1901). Review of Philosophie des Geldes by G. Simmel. Journal of Political Economy, 9, 616–619. Mead, G. H. (1925). The genesis of self and social control. International Journal of Ethics, 35, 251–277. Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, Self and Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist (C. Morris, Ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Moscovici, S. (1973). Foreword. In C. Herzlich, Health and Illness: A Social Psychological Analysis (pp. ix–xiv). London: Academic Press. Moscovici, S. (1984). The phenomenon of social representations. In R. Farr & S. Moscovici (Eds.), Social Representations (pp. 3–69). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Moscovici, S., & Vignaux, G. (2000). The concept of themata. In S. Moscovici, Social Representations (pp. 156–183). Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Ritzer, G., & Liska, A. (1997). “McDisneyization” and “post-tourism.” In C. Rojek & J. Urry (Eds.), Touring Cultures: Transformations of Travel and Theory (pp. 96–109). London: Routledge. Rizvi, J. (1983). Ladakh: Crossroads of high Asia. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Rommetveit, R. (1974). On Message Structure: A Framework for the Study of Language and Communication. London: Wiley. Simmel, G. (1900/1978). The Philosophy of Money. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Weinstein, E. A., & Deutschberger, P. (1963). Some dimensions of altercasting. Sociometry, 26, 454–466. CH07—152

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