gift exchange


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gift exchange

or

gift relationship

a reciprocal relationship of exchanging goods and services. Marcel MAUSS wrote a seminal book, The Gift (1925), in which he argued that gift-giving and taking is one of the bonds that cohere societies. Systems like the KULA RING and POTLATCH provide a system of obligations that comprise a network of ‘presentations’which fuse economic, spiritual and political values into a unified system. These insights were elaborated by the anthropologist LÉVI-STRAUSS into a structural theory of group alliance in which he argues that patterns of giving, receiving and repaying, as individuals and groups, reflect the deepest structures of societies. This was applied, in particular, to the movement of women in and out of a patrilineage (see PATRILINEAL DESCENT).

TITMUSS also used these ideas in his The Gift Relationship (1970), a study of blood donors in the UK, US and USSR. Titmuss argues that the giving of blood in the UK, without material reward, reflects a sense of community that the other two countries do not have. The analysis of ALTRUISM in Titmuss's examination of the British blood donor service and the idea of the unilateral, anonymous and voluntary gift has been important in discussions of SOCIAL POLICY.

Ideas of exchange have also been applied to other areas of formal gift-giving in industrialized societies (e.g. the exchange of birthday presents), but the presence of complex market mechanisms complicates simplistic formulations of exchange. Compare EXCHANGE THEORY.

References in periodicals archive ?
Marxists: In societies in which profit is derived exclusively from surplus value "donated" (as part of the capitalist labor process) by workers, and which reflects the capitalists' extractive power (bequeathed to them by one-sided property rights over the means of production), the Christmas tradition of gift exchange packs dialectical significance.
But when she draws Donovan's name for the Secret Santa gift exchange, she's totally at a loss," the synopsis teases.
Van Heekeren looks at Vula'a exchange as the foundation of what the author refers to as a 'participatory ontology': this ontology generates the ways of being most closely associated with gift exchange and social obligations.
The inaugural event was followed by a welcome reception and gift exchange ceremony.
1) My consideration of courtship gifts in Sense and Sensibility expands gift theory to Austen studies in order to understand the role of gift exchange in the shift from economically-motivated marriages to companionate marriages.
It was a Secret Santa present from an intern, which is fitting given that the two met by picking each other's names during a gift exchange from their time at Film Inc.
Gift giving It's always a good idea to check with others what kind of gift exchange they'd like and what they expect from the Christmas party.
The aircraft was welcomed with a traditional water cannon salute and gift exchange between Emirates executives and Chicago public officials.
In particular, Jewett and Freeman present an alternative to the domestic Christmas's disruption of the social function of gift exchange; in the domestic Christmas, gift exchange becomes a sociopolitical tool used to sustain class divisions and promote consumption that benefits the individual or the family as opposed to the collective.
Was it a gift that could not be reciprocated and had sealed a misunderstanding of the gift exchange process?
The gift exchange happened through the website Reddit's secret Santa event, in which users swap presents across the country.
In place of the pre-social, metaphysically individuated essence, or residual soul, of the modern subject, Mauss's study of gift exchange suggests the very opposite: a complex network of obligations, commitments and blurred identities from which there no more emerges a concept of the individual than there does an isolable market place" (2011, page 5).