Mauss also uses the original native word in the subsequent Mother language for these exchanges, which are crucial to understanding the original symbolic meanings of the gift exchange. Out of the obligation to give gifts, one can further explore the symbolic nature of generosity. Giving wealth is a honourable institution, but further to this what we can take from Gregory’s use of Mauss is that giving without a full sense of how the wealth will be used (here we may read: monetary wealth,) is more honourable still. Marcel Mauss’s The Gift speaks of everything but the gift: It deals with economy, exchange, contract (do et des), it speaks of raising the stakes, sacrifice, gift and countergift—in short, and the annulment of the gift.’ Jacques Derrida, Given Time. 6, No. However, it should be noted that Mauss attempts simple translation of the root and the inherent symbolic meaning of unfamiliar words wherever necessary to differentiate a classification of ‘gift’. Mary Douglas explores it immediately in the foreword of the 2001 edition. Marcel Mauss’ essay The Giftsynthesizes the ethnographic research results on the practices related to the gift, while at the same time putting them in a historical and intercultural perspective. A key contended theme of the text is the rejection of the concept of ‘free gifts’ – donations willingly given without necessity of reciprocation. “The obligation to accept is no less constraining. The social standing created through gift exchange is a key element of Mauss’ dialogue and as we have explored, the influence of these theories continue to exert their authority on anthropologists and sociologists today. ���)_���YgelI������3����}�x9�T�v��� �w�µ����G���z� �Ȅ��ͳZ���,� ����(�_�7�7���P4���"��3U�1��WF��\=��#)�n��E��-�i����l��s88^>]�����.7��וH�p*�a����owrs��Y��+䳧fyzY�5?�������7��S�>_�p���U��H&m� r�yЁ0��J���WOv��[email protected]̛�q��S��`�������p�}��L�#Ѻj`=�M��J�mH (1980) Gifts to Men and Gifts to God: Gift Exchange and Capital Accumulation in Contemporary Papua in ‘Man, New Series,’ Vol. Mauss explores the obligations on us to give gifts and more importantly to reciprocate that which is given – in either equal or greater value than that which was received. The rejection of free gifts is contended in Laidlaw’s essay “A Free Gift Makes No Friends” (2000), in which he cites the ‘neglect’ to explore free gifts as a product of Mauss’ theories and their influence on cultural anthropologists since. This he feels is the only way we can prevent the advent of a ‘debt’ that must be paid off. USA: Polity Press and University of Chicago. He argues that the theory of seeking recognition by giving cheapens the intent of such a gift. endobj endobj Create a free website or blog at if they require a blood transfusion in the future they hope that others will have donated, they have no guarantee of this. E��֞7h��5Æ��*�zQ��j{���;�-�����ܵ'8������#��i�$��]�*4�GglH�2X�9a�-�Y����0X�ۯVJ��,�2�3���:�ط-����z�a짮C�,,Q��S!w�r����w$� �Ӡ������e�C����c+݀�UU�c_3��U�4�NJhͭ�6_�b�^*��[f�7u�3m�ݨA��Ei?_^���;I4�z�4(�&��Ѕ[ �D�a,����@�߈�Q�. Marcel Mauss was a French sociologist. Generosity is the focus of the first part of the essay, and from this we look at concepts of honour. %PDF-1.4 If we view the gift exchange as a moral contract there must be moral implications to how much is given and why. The gift is not an anecdotal ethnic phenomenon, and it is not solely related to the development of Indo-European exchange. In the fifth section, we will look at the paradox of the “pure gift” and unidirectional giving. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. His first condition is that the free gift cannot be reciprocated at all. Today, he is perhaps better recognised for his influence on the latter discipline, particularly with respect to his analyses of topics such as magic, sacrifice and gift exchange in different cultures around the world. Laidlaw uses the free or ‘pure’ gift as the main emphasis on the subject of the Gift, rather than Mauss who focuses on the gift exchange and the concept of contracts. 2 0 obj Godelier, Maurice (1999) The Enigma of the Gift. <> Appraisal and Criticism of the Gift. Derrida, J (1992) Force of law: The Mystical Foundation of Authority (M. Quaintance, Trans.) Mary Douglas explores it immediately in the foreword of the 2001 edition. Perhaps a better critic of Mauss to explore here is Titmuss, whose 1997 book “The Gift Relationship: From Human Blood to Social Policy” focuses on modern blood donations. Mauss explores the fear of being ‘beaten’ by superior gifts in his initial exploration of the Potlatch and its three main obligations, “to give, to receive, to reciprocate,” by focusing on the element of prestige acquired by giving a gift of high value. Mauss in his exploration of Classical Hindu Law in “The Gift” keenly illustrates the theory of belief in that any gifts given even ‘freely’ and in “charity and hospitality” are hoped to be revisited on the giver at some point: “In this world and the next, what is given away is acquired once more.” (Mauss, ed. Change ). Mauss rarely makes reference to anonymity in gift-exchange in “The Gift,” which may be an oversight and worth exploring further. The notion of honour acquired or maintained through generous giving is the driving force between relations with other groups, just as it is in the contemporary society Gregory explores. endobj Looking at wedding gifts in Germanic societies, Mauss gives a keen example of this symbolism by looking at the meaning behind the giving tradition: “In a few places the generosity of these gifts is proof of the fertility of the young couple.” (Mauss, 2001 ed. ( Log Out /  For example, in exploring Germanic terms alongside Hindu, the un-translated words may be compared for the intricacies in their meanings, without re-evaluation of these given words. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your account. Marcel Mauss The Gift The form and reason for exchange in archaic societies With a foreword by Mary Douglas London and New York. ( Log Out /  Largely focused on religious donations or sacrifices, Laidlaw argues that Mauss’ emphasis on the importance of reciprocation destroys the symbolic nature and pure intent of the donation.