I n the three preceding chapters I described a set o f historical changes in the ways that people produce and circulate objects. Not only did these changes affect people's common conception of objects, they mark a growing dif ferentiation in social life. Put briefly, the dominant forms of production and circulation, the economic aspects of social life, came to involve a type of social relation that was more impersonal than it had been. Furthermore, this type of social relationship appeared distinct from the type that characterized other areas of life, a type that was itself changing as it lost many of its earlier links with production and circulation. Put in other terms, life became differentiated into two spheres, each with its own distinctive form of social relationship. I shall call these spheres "economy" and "society". In making this point I am only echoing the Maussian observation that the emergence of the modern West meant that "the economy becomes progressively disembedded from society, . . . economic relations become increasingly differentiated from other types of social relationships" (Parry 1 986: 466).