gift exchange

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gift exchange


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 ?
We have conducted this comparative experimental study in Jun-Sep, 2008 to evaluate the use of two different incentives in gift exchange framework.
Rucker, Balch, Highma, and Scenter (1992) found one essential phase of the gift exchange process to be "reformulation," which included giving the gift to someone else, returning it to the retailer, or rejecting it at initial presentation.
The Western Union Gift Exchange Tour is a natural extension of our community-focused brand and global Gift of Possibilities campaign to help create new holiday possibilities for others.
A secret Santa gift exchange is essentially a cooperative gift-giving agreement.
This kind of gift exchange has been found in a wide variety of environments and in many institutional settings, as demonstrated by the Fehr and Gachter (1998) survey.
Set a budget among family and friends or establish a gift exchange program.
We love stumbling across a gift in July for the office white elephant December gift exchange.
Engaging a range of texts on gift theory, she demonstrates the way the paradox of self-interested giving is implied in the early modern assimilation of competition and equality into the existing language of gift exchange and shows how that new language attempted to maximize rewards from an increasingly diverse group of patrons.
About 125 employees in the hospital's patient financial services and medical records departments passed on an office gift exchange this year as well as one day's lunch, and instead raised $1,000 to help the family of nine.
Klein looks at how women entered their needlework into a network of gift exchange in order to forge or cement social and political bonds.
A recent customer states, "I'm going to have the funniest item at my gift exchange this year -- thanks for making these affordable.
The coins, the clipping, gold and silver in the late Roman empire, and the use of coins in the Roman tradition of gift exchange are discussed by Guest (Roman archaeology, Cardiff U.