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Marcel Mauss’s Ideal Society in Anthropological Perspective—The Case of The Gift

Date: October 31,2023 |Hits: 298 Download PDF How to cite this paper

Zhenghang Liu

Institute of Anthropology, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, Yunnan, China.

*Corresponding author: Zhenghang Liu


Moss envisioned a round table as a symbol of unity and inclusiveness. This table was meant to serve as a place where individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their backgrounds or wealth, could come together in harmony. His idealistic and philosophically inspired words reflect his profound desire for a fairer and more just society, beautifully illustrated in the thought-provoking book The Gift. This book is a concise yet profound exploration of a robust theoretical framework. When comparing Moss's ideas to exchange theory, we can discern the shadow of various propositions that have challenged the field of social theory. These include the ongoing struggle between individualism and collectivism, the tension between the individual and society, and the debates surrounding the individualist-collectivist dichotomy and the individual-social dichotomy. This dual perspective brings us closer to the central thesis of social theory, which revolves around the question of "how is social order possible?" Moss's work encapsulates almost all of these critical elements. In particular, Moss's famous essay—The Gift, warrants a re-examination.


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Li Yuan Yuan, Zhang Ke. (2022). Collective Jubilation, Jedi Tiantong and Gift Exchange—Theoretical Differences between Moss and Turgon's Anthropological Thought on Religion and Their Resolution. Journal of Ethnology, 13(03):57-66+144.

Marcel Moss. (2016). Gifts: Forms and Reasons for Exchange in Ancient Societies. Ji Zhe, Translated. Beijing: The Commercial Press, p. 26, p. 31, p. 61.

Maurice Godelier. (2007). Gift Mystery. Translated by Wang Yi, Shanghai People's Publishing House.

Wang Meijun. (2019). Gift research and the rise of things. Gansu Social Science, 19(05):95-102.

How to cite this paper

Marcel Mauss’s Ideal Society in Anthropological Perspective—The Case of The Gift

How to cite this paper: Zhenghang Liu. (2023) Marcel Mauss’s Ideal Society in Anthropological Perspective—The Case of The GiftJournal of Humanities, Arts and Social Science7(9), 1919-1924.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26855/jhass.2023.09.037

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