Marcel Mauss The Gift

Topics: Marcel Mauss, Potlatch Pages: 575 (54205 words) Published: November 20, 2014
THE GIFT

ESSAI

SUR LE DON
in

SOCIOLOGIE ET ANTHROPOLOGIE
Published by

PRESSES UNIVERSITAIRES DE FRANCE
Paris, 1950

THE GIFT
Forms and Functions of Exchange
in

Archaic Societies

by

MARCEL MAUSS
Translated by

IAN GUNNISON
With an Introduction by
.

E.

EVANS-PRITCHARD

Professor of Social Anthropology

and Fellow of All Souls

COHEN

&

College,

Oxford

WEST LTD

68-74 Carter Lane, London, E.C.4

1966

Copyright

PRINTED

IN

GREAT BRITAIN BY

LOWE AND BRYDONE

(PRINTERS) LTD,

LONDON

INTRODUCTION
By

E. E.

Evans-Pritchard

Fellow of All Souls College and Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oxford

MAUSS
MARCEL
nephew and most

Durkheim's
distinguished pupil, was a man of
(i

872-1 950), Emile

unusual ability and learning, and also of integrity and
strong convictions. After Durkheim's death he was the leading

French sociology. His reputation was closely bound
up with the fortunes of the Annee Sociologique which he helped his uncle to found and make famous; some of the most stimulating and original contributions to its earher numbers were figure in

written by

him in collaboration with Durkheim and Hubert and

Beuchat:

Essai sur la nature

De

et

la

fauction

quelques formes primitives de classification

des representations collectives

de la magie

(1904),

societes eskimos

The war

:

and

:

du

sacrifice

(1899),

contribution a

f etude

(1903), Esquisse d'une theorie generale

Essai sur

les

variations saisonnieres des

essai de morphologic sociale (1906).

of 19 14-18, during which Mauss was on opera-

wiped out the team of brilliant younger
scholars whom Durkheim had taught, inspired, and gathered
around him^ his son Andre Durkheim, Robert Hertz, Antoine
Bianconi, Georges Gelly, Maxime David, Jean Reynier. The
Master did not survive them (d. 191 7). Had it not been for
*X these disasters Mauss might have given us in ampler measure CK the fruits of his erudition, untiring industry, and mastery of ^2 method. But he not only wrote about social solidarity and collective sentiments. He expressed them in his own life. For him the group of Durkheim and his pupils and colleagues had

^ a kind of collective mind, the material representation of which ^was its product the Annee. And if one belongs to others and not tional service, almost



^
.

to oneself,

which

is

one of the themes, perhaps the basic theme,

1539716

THE GIFT

VI

of the present book, one expresses one's attachment by subordinating one's

own

ambitions to the

common

On

interest.

met Mauss I received the impression that
this was how he thought and felt, and his actions confirmed it. He took over the labours of his dead colleagues. Most unselfishly, for it meant neglecting his own researches, he undertook the heavy task of editing, completing and publishing the manuscripts left by Durkheim, Hubert (who died in 1927),

Hertz and others. He undertook also, in 1923-24, the even
heavier task of reviving his beloved Annee^ which had ceased publication after 191 3. This imposed an added burden on him and farther deflected him from the field of his own chief interest. Mauss became a Sanskrit scholar and a historian of religions at the same time as he became a sociologist, and his main

interest throughout his life was in Comparative Religion or the Sociology of Religion. But he felt that the new series of the the few occasions

I

Annie must, like the old one, cover
sociological research,

and

this

all

the

many branches

could only be done

if

of

he took

own which would have been
who had died. Consequently,

over those branches other than his

the special concern of those
though he pubUshed many reviews and review-articles, his only major works after 1906 were the Essai sur le don, forme archaique de...
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