Owing and being in debt. A contribution from the northern Andes of Ecuador

Emilia Ferraro

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper discusses the notion of debt in Pesillo, a Quichua community in Northern Ecuador. Using data from the Andes, a region underrepresented in the anthropological literature on exchange, and focusing on practices and relations of debt, that is, a topic little analysed in both economic anthropology and Andean ethnography, this paper demonstrates that debt is a category permeated with spiritual, moral and legal meaning. Following the arguments of Malamoud (1988) and comparing Andean material with ethnographic findings from Asia, this paper argues that debt is an important expression of a wider system of exchange that shows the proactive, performative behaviour of the people involved in it, and that it provides a privileged entrance to the understanding of the links between economy, exchange and culture.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)77-94
    JournalSocial Anthropology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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