Marcel Mauss

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Mauss, Marcel


Born May 10, 1872, in Epinal; died Feb. 10, 1950, in Paris. French social anthropologist and sociologist.

Mauss held the chair in the history of the religion of noncivilized peoples at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes from 1900, and he was appointed professor of sociology at the Collège de France in 1931. Mauss was the nephew of E. Durkheim, worked closely with him, and was the leading exponent of his views. In the political sphere, Mauss supported the ideas of J. Jaurès and helped found the newspaper L’Humanité, for a time serving as its editorial secretary.

Although he adhered to Durkheim’s theory as a whole, Mauss modified some of its tenets. He did not accept Durkheim’s extreme antipsychologism and sought to reconcile sociology and psychology. In contrast to Durkheim, who viewed man as a dualistic being, embodying both an individual reality and a social reality that dominated the individual aspect, Mauss formulated the concept of the “total” man as the sum of his biological, psychological, and social traits. Mauss also placed greater emphasis on a systemic structural approach to the study of social phenomena than did Durkheim.

Mauss’ works are chiefly devoted to various aspects of life in archaic societies. His most important study is “The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies” (1925). In this work he shows, on the basis of extensive ethnographic and historical material, that until the development of commodity relations, the universal means of exchange was reciprocal gift-giving, in which the gifts, in theory voluntary, were in fact obligatory.

Mauss also advanced the idea of “total social facts,” stressing the comprehensive study of social facts and the identification of the most important social facts in particular social systems. These facts are at once economic, legal, religious, and aesthetic. Despite the vagueness and ambiguity of this idea, it had an influence on G. D. Gurvich and C. Lévi-Strauss. Mauss trained many specialists in ethnology, folkloristics, Indology, and historical psychology.


Oeuvres, vols. 1–3, Paris, 1968–69.
Manuel d’ethnographie. Paris, 1947.
Sociologie et anthropologie, 4th ed. Paris, 1968.


Cazeneuve, J. M. Mauss. Paris, 1968.
Cazeneuve, J. Sociologie de Marcel Mauss. Paris, 1968.


References in periodicals archive ?
Anthropologists and sociologists have long been analyzing gifts, a classic work being that of the French sociologist Marcel Mauss who wrote a book (actually, a very long essay) titled, what else but 'The Gift,' published way back in 1925.
Ex-spy Werner Mauss, 77, was fined [euro]20,000 and handed a suspended term for stashing cash in offshore accounts and shortchanging the state of millions in taxes.
Werner Mauss, whose career spanned 40 years, says on his website that he was involved in smashing more than 100 criminal gangs and in the arrests of around 2,000 individuals.
Anspach (an American anthropologist and social theorist who is affiliated with the LIAS research team at the Institut Marcel Mauss, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris) tackles these and other conundrums as he draws on ethnography, literature, psychotherapy, and the theory of Rene Girard to explore some of the fundamental mechanisms of human interaction.
The lineage of Social Anthropology emphasizes that rituals of social groups produce solidarity and is represented by Marcel Mauss, Levi-Strauss, Radcliffe-Brown, Erving Goffman and Mary Douglas, among others (21).
The overall contract of the Lot 9 completion and maintenance of old tunnels includes the construction works, except for the Westseite, which are necessary for the complete completion of the project double lane extension Rosshusern - Mauss, Rosshusern tunnel.
We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health," said study senior author Iris Mauss, an associate professor of psychology at UC Berkeley.
As artist Nick Mauss described Stettheimer's work, "The flowers take on something monumental, or even sort of monstrous.
Se destaca que el regalo maussiano puede ser un maleficio o un beneficio y que la palabra de Mauss no es un anuncio del evangelio, una verdad revelada e incuestionable.
Podemos, entonces, decir que las ideas de Hubert y Mauss han sido confirmadas, refutadas, abandonadas o corroboradas?
Werner Mauss, described as Germany's answer to James Bond, went on trial Monday for tax evasion, accused of hiding some 50 million euros from the government in a number of offshore accounts in Luxembourg, Lichtenstein and the Bahamas.