© 2017

The Request and the Gift in Religious and Humanitarian Endeavors

  • Frederick Klaits

Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)

About this book


This collection revisits classical anthropological treatments of the gift by documenting how people may be valued both through the requests they make and through what they give. Many humanitarian practitioners, the authors propose, regard giving to those in need as the epitome of moral action but are liable to view those people’s requests for charity as merely utilitarian. Yet in many religious discourses, prayers and requests for alms are highly valued as moral acts, obligatory for establishing relationships with the divine. Framing the moral qualities of asking and giving in conjunction with each other, the contributors explore the generation of trust and mistrust, the politics of charity and accountability, and tensions between universalism and particularism in religious philanthropy.  


Anthropology of giving Morality of giving Morality of asking Christian giving Spiritual exchange Humanitarianism The gift Social outreach Anthropology of religion Jewish giving Religious service Religious humanitarianism

Editors and affiliations

  • Frederick Klaits
    • 1
  1. 1.State University of New YorkBuffaloUSA

About the editors

Frederick Klaits is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the State University of New York at Buffalo, USA. He is the author of Death in a Church of Life: Moral Passion during Botswana’s Time of AIDS (2010).

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Request and the Gift in Religious and Humanitarian Endeavors
  • Editors Frederick Klaits
  • Series Title Contemporary Anthropology of Religion
  • Series Abbreviated Title Contemporary Anthropology of Religion
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and the Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-54243-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-85351-2
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-54244-7
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages VII, 183
  • Number of Illustrations 4 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Social Anthropology
    Cultural Anthropology
    Religion and Society
    Sociology of Religion
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