Reflecting on The Gift Economy

The gift system was pioneered by anthropologist Marcher Mauss and Bronislaw Malinowski in the mid-1920s. Mauss taught us that social life involves a ‘gift,’ that is indisputable as a combination of labour and service that cannot be reduced to the calculation of contracts. Sociologist, Lewis Hyde draws from Mauss’ philosophy for his book The Gift: Creativity and the Artists in the Modern World. In this book, Hyde (2007) points out two types of economies: A commodity (or exchange) economy where status is accorded to those who have the most, and, a gift economy, where status is accorded to those who give the most to others. Hyde argues that a work of art is a gift, rather than a commodity and those artists are laboring in the service of his or her gifts. Hyde contends that Continue reading Reflecting on The Gift Economy