Gift and Value in Jerusalem's Third Sector



ABSTRACT  Contemporary social activism lends itself to critique from the standpoint of Maussian gift giving, wherein generosity and interests coconstitute a sociality that is at once politically significant, morally resonant, and economically viable. Among Jerusalem's vibrant third sector, the vision that Marcel Mauss delineates emerges out of the same practices and policies that restrict its manifestation. In this article, I try to explain how and why this happens. I mobilize value—a form of indirect domination that Karl Marx attributes to capitalist society—to account for failures in the implementation of gifting values. Building on an ethnography of third-sector activism, I discuss some premises and potentialities in the anthropology of gift and value and argue for the primacy of Marxian value over Maussian gifting.


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