Why do we give each other gifts? Because the ritual fulfills several key social obligations. It acts as social glue, and can be used to establish or strengthen an alliance, or to achieve reconciliation. So it is a moral transaction rather than an economic one, connected to individual or group relationships. Watch Macat’s short video for a great introduction to Marcel Mauss’s The Gift, one of the most important anthropology books ever written.
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Tagged under: Marcel Mauss,The Gift,Mauss,Anthropology,Introduction
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