Gift Giving, Reciprocity, and Exchange

  • Vanessa M. HildebrandEmail author


Using Marcel Mauss’s foundational concept presented in The Gift, that exchanging gifts or services is an act motivated by developing social relationships, this chapter examines attempts made by skilled birth attendants to provide maternal health care to women of rural Indonesia, the rural women’s responses to the offered care, and the social results of those interactions. This chapter argues that by examining exchange and reciprocity important characteristics are revealed about how health care is given and received in contemporary society and how this impacts the health status of individuals. The conclusion is of particular interest for health researchers—how power and inequality are enacted in the health care encounter.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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