Things You Don’t Give or Sell but Which You Keep: Valuable and Social Objects

  • Maurice Godelier
Part of the International Economic Association Series book series (IEA)


In choosing to explore this theme, I am evidently situating myself within the current of anthropological history, and my point of reference can only be one of the great moments in this history — Marcel Mauss’ indispensable text, his Essai sur le Don (1924). In this chapter I shall trace the context in which the essay was written, but first I would like to outline the reasons that moved me to return to the analysis of these problems and to write a book, The Enigma of the Gift (Godelier, 1999). These are three reasons. First, what I discovered in the Baruya society in New Guinea; then my 20 year-long dialogue with Annette Weiner and my reading of her Inalienable Possessions: The Paradox of Keeping-while-Giving (Weiner, 1992); and, finally, the context of the globalization of the Western capitalist system. I shall say a few words about each of these contexts.


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Copyright information

© International Economic Association 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maurice Godelier
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Advanced Studies in the Social SciencesParisFrance

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