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 ?
Those of you who know Richard Titmuss' wonderful book, The Gift Relationship, or Marcel Mauss' wonderful book on The Gift will know that rights talk and gift talk are two very different languages.
In his Gift Relationship, Titmuss (4) famously argues against introducing direct economic calculation in blood donation services.
While other work, by Testart (1998), Laidlaw (2000), Hyde (2006), and Hird (2010), for example, has questioned the nexus between gift and reciprocation (on the basis that a gift is not a gift if it depends on reciprocation), Mauss's underlying theorisation of the gift relationship is now well accepted, although we argue in this paper that it has considerable potential for further development in order to theorise nature-society relations.
He thought for a second and named The Gift Relationship by Richard M Titmus, a classic work about blood donations that has had a major impact in other areas of political thought.
This article draws on empirical evidence from interviews with 16 Australian major donors, defined as those who gave at least a single gift of at least AU$10,000 in 2008 or 2009, to identify what constitutes from their perspective a good or bad major gift relationship.
We have to risk everything on the importance of the common good and put ourselves in the flow of the gift relationship, into the mystery of the Eucharist that is celebrated, however improbably, in such disparate places as Sunday suburban parishes, ghetto hovels, prison cells, papal palaces, and, yes, the basements of tawdry soup kitchens.
Singapore is not a country with a robust welfare state, having depended on the filial gift relationship to repay intergenerational debt, yet with a rapidly aging and ailing population, that may very well change, according to Reisman (economics, Nanyang Technological U.
Titmuss' The Gift Relationship compared blood donation in the United Kingdom (where the sale of blood is illegal) and the United States (where the sale of blood is legal).
Beretta adds to the spiritual treatment of wealth creation the idea of the gift relationship.
A reply slip could be filled out for the tax receipt, but that approach is more popular with lower givers than the person in a higher gift relationship, according to Gwinn.
Perhaps the argument that body parts can be given but not sold rests on the idea that our bodies were "given" to us, by God or by Nature, and that we therefore breach a preexisting gift relationship when we sell our body parts.