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The four figures of gift: kula, potlatch, dan e hau

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  • Matteo Aria

    ()

  • Nicolò Bellanca

    ()
    (Università degli Studi di Firenze)

Abstract

Drawing on actual reinterpretation of Mauss’s classical essay on “the Gift”, the authors examine four ideal-typical forms of gift which recur in the anthropologic literature, and theoretically analyze them under relevant contemporary phenomena. Kula - as reciprocity gift-, Potlach – as competitive gift-, Hau – as non-returnable gift - and Dan - as asymmetrical gift- do not have in common something that allows us to use the same term for all, however they are tied to each other in many different ways. There is a complicate net of similarities that overlap and cross one another. According with this perspective the “gift” appears as a polythetic and polisemic concept: it is crucial tools in the understanding contemporary societies, cultures and economies as well as useful starting point for a new dialogue between anthropologists and economists.

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Paper provided by Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa in its series Working Papers - Economics with number wp2012_21.rdf.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2012_21.rdf

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Keywords: gift; commodification; special currency;

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  1. Akerlof, George A, 1984. "Gift Exchange and Efficiency-Wage Theory: Four Views," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 79-83, May.
  2. Oded Stark & Ita Falk, 1998. "Transfers, Empathy Formation, and Reverse Transfers," Departmental Working Papers _091, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics.
  3. Glazer, Jacob & Ma, Ching-To Albert, 1989. "Efficient allocation of a "prize"-King Solomon's dilemma," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 222-233, September.
  4. Buchanan, James M & Yoon, Yong J, 2000. "Symmetric Tragedies: Commons and Anticommons," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 1-13, April.
  5. Ron Boschma, 2005. "Proximity and Innovation: A Critical Assessment," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 61-74.
  6. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
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