Escaping the Gift Economy
Researchers have analyzed the dark side of the gift, but they have remained blind to what it implies about the market. Drawing on the experiences of a group of informants who participated in an ethnographical study of house moving in Montreal, Canada, this article provides significant evidence that the unattractiveness of the gift economy can incite people to turn to the market as an escape. It examines how people use the market to free themselves from the straitjacket of social expectations-from the sense of indebtedness and emotional oppression-which constrains them in their reciprocity relations inside the gift economy. The standard views of CCT researchers concerning the valorization of the gift economy are challenged, as well as the axiology that implicitly informs their research. As a result, it is necessary to discuss the inversion of this axiology. (c) 2009 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..
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