Here is a summary of my understanding of a lecture we had on “the Gift” … Since we are not having any study group tomorrow, I was wondering whether anyone would be interested in telling me whether what I understood made sense or not…
To me the key terms of the lecture were: gift, prestige, exchange, commodity, dualism, politics, relations, total social fact, alienable, sacred, sacrifice, consume, charity.
The way I understand Melissa Demian’s argument is that the lenses of liberalism see the future as having to be built through the investment in industry with the help of politics, the lenses of neo-liberalism see the future as having to be built through the investment in finance (or in other words in money) whilst the gift as building future the investment in relationships between people. So what’s important when we study both commodity economies and gift economies is that it gives us a view on the way people – including ourselves – understand what they have agency upon and how much agency they have in the building of their future? Which furthermore gives us an insight on how people perceive what the future is, their reification of the idea of future through the means they use to embody it?