The Return of the Gift: European History of a Global Idea

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


This book is a history of European interpretations of the gift from the mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth century. Reciprocal gift exchange, pervasive in traditional European society, disappeared from the discourse of nineteenth-century social theory only to return as a major theme in twentieth-century anthropology, sociology, history, philosophy, and literary studies. Modern anthropologists encountered gift exchange in Oceania and the Pacific Northwest and returned the idea to European social thought; Marcel Mauss synthesized their insights with his own readings from remote times and places in his famous 1925 essay on the gift, the starting-point for subsequent discussion. The Return of the Gift demonstrates how European intellectual history can gain fresh significance from global contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages210
ISBN (Electronic)9780511782244
ISBN (Print)9781107002180
StatePublished - Dec 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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