The Transnational History of a Political Idea
Cambridge University Press 2019
New Books in AnthropologyNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network October 3, 2019 Ryan Tripp
Since Marcel Mauss published his foundational essay “The Gift” in 1925, many anthropologists and specialists of international relations have seen in the exchange of gifts, debts, loans, concessions or reparations the sources of international solidarity and international law. Still, Mauss’s reflections were deeply tied to the context of interwar Europe and the French colonial expansion. Their normative dimension has been profoundly questioned after the age of decolonization. A century after Mauss, Grégoire Mallard, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, asks: what is the relevance of his ideas on gift exchanges and international solidarity? By tracing how Mauss’s theoretical and normative ideas inspired prominent thinkers and government officials in France and Algeria, from Pierre Bourdieu to Mohammed Bedjaoui, Mallard’s Gift Exchange: The Transnational History of a Political Idea (Cambridge University Press, 2019), adds a building block to our comprehension of the role that anthropology, international law, and economics have played in shaping international economic governance from the age of European colonization to the latest European debt crisis. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Ryan Tripp is part-time and full-time adjunct history faculty for Los Medanos Community College as well as the College of Online and Continuing Education at Southern New Hampshire University.