Gift Exchange

HideShow resource information
View mindmap
  • Gift Exchange
    • Theorists
      • Mauss says that gift exchange explains the political, economic and social play within a group
      • Boa wrote about Potlatch
    • Potlatch
      • Practised by indigenous Americans and Native Americans
      • Happens every winter with a fiesta happening after
      • To outdo each other, kinship groups would publixly piled up great collections of blankets, copper and golden plates. It shows the chief to  be the strongest as he can afford to get rid of this amount of wealth
        • Different winner every time - a redistribution of wealth
      • After, the chiefs come together and give gifts of blankets, food and life stock
    • The Gift
      • Was written by Mauss
      • Types of gifts relate to social structure - you can track how gifts related to societal developemtn
      • It was groups not individuals that made exchanges an contracted obligations in traditional socities
        • They don't exchange material goods but rituals, assistance and welfare - what is most required and sort for
    • Reciprocity
      • Generalised
        • Is the altruistic pure gift but may involve a return of assistance if necessary in the long run
        • Close family parents give gifts to children and do not expect them from the kids
      • The prectice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit
      • Balanced
        • Less personal exchange
        • Similar value in two presents being exchanged
      • Negative
        • Is unsociable extreme embracing theft, barter and gambling
    • The Kula
      • Coral necklaces were exchanged by kula partners in a clockwise direction through a group of islands
        • Someone would always have it and it was transported with other gifts of livestock and money by a famous warrior from that tribe
      • Each tibe adds coral to the necklace to preserve a memory
    • Spiritual meaning of a gift
      • The Maori of New Zealand
        • Hau - the spirit within a gift and obliges the receiver to return a gift of equal or increased value
          • Has to give a gift back so the Hau can return to its home, if not they will be cursed
        • The Hau is tied to the forest where it came from, who every touches a calving it of it has the Hau attached to them
        • The gift exchange creates a bond
      • Gods and obligation
        • Gods - gifts are offered to them or to dead ancestors who will bring good luck to the tribe (through fruitful seasons or no illness)
        • Obligation means if there you receive a gift you must return it, to refuse is to refuse friendship
          • You will lose face and honour
          • Mauss sees three obligations; giving, receiving and repaying


No comments have yet been made

Similar Anthropology resources:

See all Anthropology resources »See all Gift Exchange resources »