The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2000 - Social Science - 164 pages
5 Reviews

A brilliant example of the comparative method, ?The Gift? presents the first systematic study of the custom--widespread in primitive societies from ancient Rome to present-day Melanesia--of exchanging gifts. The gift is a perfect example of what Mauss calls a total social phenomenon, since it involves legal, economic, moral, religious, aesthetic, and other dimensions. He sees the gift exchange as related to individuals and groups as much as to the objects themselves, and his analysis calls into question the social conventions and economic systems that had been taken for granted for so many years. In a modern translation, introduced by distinguished anthropologist Mary Douglas, ?The Gift ?is essential reading for students of social anthropology and sociology.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dono421846 - LibraryThing

Accessible classic offering a theory as to how gifts serve to create social cohesion. "We may then consider that the spirit of gift-exchange is characteristic of societies which have passed the phase ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kant1066 - LibraryThing

Marcel Mauss’ “The Gift” (1925) is one of the most influential pieces of anthropology written in the twentieth century. It explores the economies of pre-capitalist cultures and peoples from several ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
THE EXTENSION OF THIS SYSTEM
19
SURVIVALS OF THESE PRINCIPLES
47
CONCLUSION
65
Name index
158
Copyright

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References to this book

Cosmopolitan Vision
Ulrich Beck
Limited preview - 2006
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About the author (2000)

Marcel Mauss was a French sociologist and anthropologist. His work profoundly influenced the field of anthropology with respect to topics such as magic, sacrifice, and gift exchange in primitive cultures.

W. D. Halls was an author, educationist, and historian. He translated works by French authors, notably Marcel Mauss and Émile Durkheim, well into his retirement years.

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