Gift Exchange and Reciprocity


The idea of gift exchange is so integral to our daily lives that we often do not think about the significance it plays in our life. The idea of gift exchange is however a complex process of exchanges between people. The exchange of gifts can entail many things such as a gift of acknowledgement, signs of affection, and to even gauge values of respect, reciprocity and moral obligation.

A study done by French anthropologist Marcel Mauss saw that pre-modern societies had focused on this particular idea of gift exchange. Gift exchange for them held a major significance since it represented the amount of respect between the individuals. When giving a gift the gifting end expects a gift back as moral obligation to reciprocate. Having these kinds of relationships of exchanging debt had allowed people to take root into peoples lives in a way more than just being neighbors or friends.

In the current society gift exchange has not changed much in its ability to share the feelings between the gift giver and receiver. Often times the gift itself does not necessarily need to be an expensive purchase to show their appreciation for the person, but rather a gift that understands a person is often more appreciated.—the-burdens-and-the-benefits.html


One thought on “Gift Exchange and Reciprocity”

  1. Stanley, I thought your post about gifts was great in explaining the idea that gift exchange is more than just the exchange of items, but also the enhancing of relationships through shows of emotion and exchanges of moral obligations. Although I can see your point, I think that most of the time, gift giving is done more as a show of kindness without and expectation for reciprocation. Regardless of this, I think that the idea of subtle indebtedness can play a crucial role in the bringing together of people be it family, friends, or others.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s