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Ep 7: Gifting انثروبولوجي بالعربي: ليه بنرد الهدية؟

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You gift me a flower, I gift you a vase Why do we gift each other? Why we accept gifts? And why we gift others? All of us do that It’s one of the beautiful things that happen in all cultures And because it is a cultural element, Anthropologists were interested to study it. One of the Anthropologists who studied gifting; Marcel Mauss, in his book; “THE GIFT” He and many other Anthropologists agreed that Gifting creates a bond and develops relations between the community members. We exchange gifts as members of the society, and that society is connected because we exchange gifts. i.e. the custom of the Egyptian neighbours offering food dishes (like; Cake and Stuffed Cabbage) to each other could be studied in Anthropology. Gifting each other is beautiful and humane, but Anthropologists also said that there is a mandatory force that sticks us to do so. i.e. aunt Suaad on the 4th floor is obligated to not return aunt Walaa’s dish empty! She has to return it with the yummiest food. Marcel Mauss says that this force is coming from the moral thing in the gift, which he calls “The Spirit” or “HAU” Which is a word from the Māori language; New Zealand’s Indigenous people. They believe that the “Spirit” or the “HAU” is part of the gift. When you gift someone a gift, it includes the “HAU” or the “Spirit”. If he didn’t gift you back, he will be possessed by the spirit Mauss is trying to say that the gift carries a part of the gifter Which distinguishes the gift from other purchasing transactions in the context of a Capitalist world. In Capitalism; when something is sold, it is alienated from its maker/giver. In gifting, an important part of its essence is that it cannot be alienated. That’s why even if we got a really bad gift from someone we love, it still becomes something we love dearly And we even would want to gift him/her back. And from here we go for Marshal Sahlins Sahlins says: Another important part of the gift is to feel debited and you are obligated to gift back. That is an essential part of building relations between society members. He added: there must be some time between the gift and gifting back, and you should always be grateful. By the way, gifts do not only refer to fancy or capitalistic transactions. Sahlins added: Gifts come in many types. One type is Reciprocal; when you gift back with almost the value of the gift you got. Which is common. The other is the Generalized; Like what families do. They don’t expect you to gift them back. The gift and expect you to treat them nicely and to visit them. Another example; These valuable videos I present :D I don’t expect more than your likes & comments :D Back to Sahlins He says: Whenever one stops gifting back, he is terminating this relation! That’s what’s happening when a marriage project ends for not gifting back. :D That takes us to a thorny issue The exchange of the valuable In the marriage context: “The Dowry” The Dowry, which is a common thing in all cultures And that creates a complex Are we exchanging a “thing” to a “thing”? Or a “thing” to a “person”? When we exchanging a “thing: Dowry” to “The bride”, are we saying that the brie is “thing”, not a person! Here comes Marlin Strathern, One of the important female anthropologists, who studied the people of Papua New Guinea, She says: we have to stop thinking in a dichotomy western way; “gift for a gift”. She says that transactions in other cultures are done in a different way; In Papua New Guinea, the Dowry is not the price of the bride, but what she represents i.e. in tribes, the dowry shall be at the value of the bride’s tribe or the value of the services/skills she will provide him after marriage. Strathern is not talking about whether it’s a good or a bad thing She is trying to say that we have to think about it differently. An unknown anthropologist called MacCall He explained the gift in a Marxist way He explained Strathern’s example of Papua New Guinea gifting pigs to each other. He said that its value is just the pig value, it’s in how he influences the people who raised the pig. (especially his wife) And the “HAU” is in the influence the gifter has upon the people who raised that pig The more he influences them, the more his own value increase And the man believes that his wife’s contributions are part of the gift. Since he gets gifts back, she gets his appreciations not in material form, but in services like driving her home and so on. MacCall says that is exploitation. We can see other examples in all cultures Such as banquets and weddings Even in funerals, some make a banquet That’s what the community does to create its bonds. To sum up; The Gift is an obligatory cultural element, but still beautiful Not all the gifts we receive are coming from the gifter’s generosity. Finally, watch the previous episodes, if you still didn’t. Next episode we will have our first GuestNext episode we will have our first Guest for whom is interested in social and visual Anthropology, don’t miss it! Share and Subscribe!

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 52 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 4
Posted by: farahhallaba on Feb 28, 2020

عمركم فكرتوا احنا ليه بنهادي بعض؟ و ليه بنحس اننا لازم نرد الهدايا؟ دي حاجة ثقافية درسها الانثروبولوجي. شوفوا الحلقة علشان تعرفوا ليه مثلا فيروز هديته مزهرية بعد ما هداها وردة.
Have you ever wondered why do we gift each others? And why do we feel that we have to gift back? The anthropologists have answered this through studying different cultures. [Subtitles will be available soon on YouTube]

- "The Gift" Marcel Mauss ( Arabic article):
(English Book):
- Marlin Strathern's "The Gender of the Gift":
- Sahlins's Reciprocity:
- MacCall:

If you liked it, share, comment and don't miss the next episode!
لو عجبكم، شاركوا الفيديو:) و استنوا الحلقة الي جايا

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