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Until recently we have known more about gift giving practices in pre-industrial societies than about those of industrial western society. In this book, first published in 1988, David Cheal shows that the process of present giving and receiving is a vital element in contemporary social life, relevant to some of the most important theoretical traditions in sociology, particularly those of Durkheim and Weber, and to the social constructionism of Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann. This volume is the result of a major study of gift rituals carried out by David Cheal and his associates in which general themes are richly illustrated with details from individual case histories gathered during the research. It is highly significant that in western society women are more active gift givers than men and, while their voices explain how emotions and interests are interrelated within the gift economy, the author shows how that in turn is related to current theories about family, gender and religion.
RLE Social and Cultural Anthropologybrings together a collection of key titles from a range of historic imprints. From Anthropology and Nursing toEveryday Life, from The Gift Economy toTwo-Dimensional Man, they form an essential reference source from a selection of acclaimed international authors.
This book examines the economy of sharing in a variety of social and political contexts around the world, with consideration given to the role of sharing in relation to social order and social change, political power, group formation, individual networks and concepts of personhood. Widlok advocates a refreshingly broad comparative approach to our understanding of sharing, with a rich range of material from hunter-gatherer ethnography alongside debates and empirical illustrations from globalized society, helping students to avoid Western economic bias in their thinking. Anthropology and the Economy of Sharing also demonstrates that sharing is distinct from gift-giving, exchange and reciprocity, which have become dominant themes in economic anthropology, and suggests that a new focus on sharing will have significant repercussions for anthropological theory. Breaking new ground in this key topic, this volume provides students with a coherent and accessible overview of the economy of sharing from an anthropological perspective.
The Mediterranean countries have long attracted the attention of social anthropologists, from Frazer and Durkheim to the present day. In this volume, first published in 1977, Dr Davis reviews the extensive anthropological material collected and published by people who have worked in the area and claims that social anthropologists have a distinctive opportunity to compare similar kinds of institution and process in a variety of contexts – political, economic, bureaucratic, religious. He examines countries, tribes and communities stretching from Spain all the way round the Mediterranean and back along the coast of North Africa. In chapters on economics, stratification, politics, family and kinship, he has found it possible and sensible to set Albanian and Berber tribesmen beside each other, and to discuss Italian and Lebanese peasants in the same paragraph. The result is both a survey of the anthropological material and an essay in comparison, founded on a critique of the work of his predecessors and colleagues. The last chapter is an account of the uses anthropologists have made of the historical sources available to them.
Women and the Gift Economy: A Radically Different Worldview is Possible is an attempt to respond to the need for deep and lasting social change in an epoch of dangerous crisis for all humans, cultures, and the planet. Featuring articles by well-known feminist activists and academics, this book points to ways to re-create the connections, which have been severed, between the gift economy, women, and the economies of Indigenous peoples, and to bring forward the gift paradigm as an approach to liberate us from the worldview of the market that is destroying life on the planet. Shifting to a gift paradigm can give us the radically different worldview which will make another, better, world possible.
Since its first publication over forty years ago Marshall Sahlins's Stone Age Economics has established itself as a classic of modern anthropology and arguably one of the founding works of anthropological economics. Ambitiously tackling the nature of economic life and how to study it comparatively, Sahlins radically revises traditional views of the hunter-gatherer and so-called primitive societies, revealing them to be the original "affluent society." Sahlins examines notions of production, distribution and exchange in early communities and examines the link between economics and cultural and social factors. A radical study of tribal economies, domestic production for livelihood, and of the submission of domestic production to the material and political demands of society at large, Stone Age Economics regards the economy as a category of culture rather than behaviour, in a class with politics and religion rather than rationality or prudence. Sahlins concludes, controversially, that the experiences of those living in subsistence economies may actually have been better, healthier and more fulfilled than the millions enjoying the affluence and luxury afforded by the economics of modern industrialisation and agriculture. This Routledge Classics edition includes a new foreword by David Graeber, London School of Economics.
This book focuses on the contribution of Marcel Mauss (1872-1950) to social theory and a theory of cooperation. It shows that Mauss’s essay "The Gift" (1925) can be seen as a classic of a pragmatist, interactionist and anti-utilitarian sociology. It critiques the dichotomy of self-interest and normatively orientated action that forms the basis of sociology. This conceptual dichotomization has caused forms of social interaction (that cannot be localized either on the side of self-interest or on that of morality) to be overlooked or taken little notice of. The book argues that it is the logic of the gift and its reciprocity that accompany and structure all forms of interaction, from the social micro to the macro-level. It demonstrates that in modern societies agonistic and non-agonistic gifts form their own orders of interaction. This book uniquely establishes the paradigm of the gift as the basis for a theory of interaction. It will be of great interest to researchers and postgraduates in social theory, cultural theory, political sociology and global cooperation, anthropology, philosophy and politics.

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