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.
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).
A partir dos estudos de Marcel Mauss, observa que a lingua em si mesma, nao e capaz de garantir sua existencia.
Derrida (1992) intenta responder las aspiraciones expresadas en la obra de Marcel Mauss en relacion a la dadiva, y enfatiza que el don retribuido ante el conocimiento del don dado anula al regalo propiamente dicho.
Casi ciento veinte anos despues del Ensayo sobre la naturaleza y funcion del sacrificio de Henri Hubert y Marcel Mauss, podriamos preguntamos que ha sido del sacrificio.
HUBERT Henri et Marcel MAUSS, 2016, Essai sur la nature et la fonction du sacrifice, edite par Natacha Gagne.
Scubla is a researcher at the Institut Marcel Mauss in Paris, France.
Marcel Mauss presento en el ano 1934, en la Societe de Psychologie, una conferencia--Les techniques du corps--que se publicaria dos anos despues, convirtiendose en un texto pionero, considerado como uno de los primeros intentos de construir una teoria sociologica del cuerpo.
Para ello, expongo algunas perspectivas analiticas de autores clasicos de la sociologia (2) como Marcel Mauss (1971a [1902]) y Norbert Elias (1982 [1939]) que desde caminos independientes formularon el caracter publico y cambiante de los sentimientos, hasta entonces confinados al ambito de lo privado e inmutable.
Inscrivant son analyse dans le paradigme ethnomethodologique, notre sociologue considere que le football est un [beaucoup moins que]fait social total[beaucoup plus grand que] selon la fameuse et heureuse expression de Marcel Mauss.
In her preface to The Aranda's Pepa, Kenny (xv) informs us that Marcel Mauss referred to Strehlow's early volumes as 'a kind of Australian Rig Veda'.