Gift and the Coefficient of Sociability Relational Sociology and the Anti-Utilitarian Movement in the Social Sciences
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University of Warsaw
Publication date: 2020-12-16
Polish Sociological Review 2020;212(4):399–410
At the beginning of the 1980s, Pierpaolo Donati initiated in Italy the relational turn in sociology, while in France Alain Caillé stipulated the anti-utilitarian movement in social sciences. The acronym MAUSS (from Mouvement Anti-Utilitariste en Sciences Sociales) simultaneously refers to the surname of Marcel Mauss, author of the pioneering work on the gift—Essai sur le don. This movement forms and spreads a new gift paradigm. The notion of the gift has shifted from a specific phenomenon researched in archaic societies towards a basic category for theorizing social order and taking a central position in research on modern transformations. The relational paradigm also focuses on the gift as a crucial aspect of social relations, and on its importance for the civil society. The article traces and discusses various interpretations of the concept of gift, along with the influence of the anti-utilitarian movement and the gift paradigm on relational sociology.
This is an extended version of the paper presented at the international conference “International Circulations of Knowledge and Culture / Circulations internationals des savoirs et de la culture,” October 29–30, 2018, Paris, L’École des hautes etudes en sciences sociales