Working for wine: rituals of self-sufficiency and hospitality in Moldova
(MPI for Social Anthropology and Nanyang Technological University)
Paper short abstract:
This paper examines the meaning of wine, when it is used by village households to pay day laborers. Payments in wine can further exploitation or establish relations of mutual respect, depending on how employer and worker interpret wine’s connections to hospitality and self-sufficiency.
Paper long abstract:
This paper examines the meaning of wine, when it is used by village households to pay day laborers. In the past, there were several forms of labor exchange and mutual help which villagers relied on instead of hiring workers for cash. These forms of exchange are now in decline, with most villagers preferring to pay hired workers for cash or with wine. Paying workers in wine, however, causes and reveals social tensions about what the payment means. Is a worker paid in wine an alcoholic being exploited by his employers? Or, has the payment drawn worker and employer into a closer relationship of mutual respect? The answer hinges on how wine's connections to hospitality and self-sufficiency are interpreted by employer and worker, revealing many layers of ritualized behavior in local economic practices.
Economy and ritual