Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is Holiday Giving An Obligation?

Date:
December 16, 2008
Source:
University of Montreal
Summary:
A University of Montreal researcher has studied exchange rituals and comments on three obligations that structure any society: giving, receiving and reciprocating.

Why do we suddenly become generous during the holidays? Why do gifts often bear greater symbolic than economic value? Why do we anonymously give to strangers?

Related Articles


"Because giving back is a societal norm," says Marcel Fournier, a sociology professor at the Universitι de Montrιal. "Human beings are social beings and no society can survive without mechanisms of solidarity and reciprocity. Giving becomes an obligation."

Fournier is a specialist in the works of anthropologist Marcel Mauss who studied tribal exchange rituals in the early 20th century. Mauss identified three obligations that structure any society: giving, receiving and reciprocating.

"In modern societies, this is manifested in a State's wealth redistribution policies," says Fournier. "But these obligations also exist on an individual level, for instance, when we give to charities. It is a way to give back what we have received and contribute to the sharing of wealth."

In this exchange mechanism, a receiver obviously benefits while a giver gains from social prestige. "In certain traditional societies, rituals lead to an escalation in giving until one of the parties can not give any more. The one who gave most benefits from higher social prestige," says Fournier.

Modern Christmas gift-giving has its share of reciprocity mechanisms. "We always feel obliged to someone who gives us a present," says Fournier. "Although there is no reciprocity of gifts given by parents to young children, young ones learn very early to exchange and give back, whether it be cards or school drawings. And children give back what they received from their parents throughout life by eventually taking care of their parents when they get older."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Montreal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Montreal. "Is Holiday Giving An Obligation?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081216131108.htm>.
University of Montreal. (2008, December 16). Is Holiday Giving An Obligation?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081216131108.htm
University of Montreal. "Is Holiday Giving An Obligation?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081216131108.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ruins Thought To Be Port Actually Buried Greek City

Ruins Thought To Be Port Actually Buried Greek City

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — Media is calling it an "underwater Pompeii." Researchers have found ruins off the coast of Delos. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amphipolis Tomb Architraves Reveal Faces

Amphipolis Tomb Architraves Reveal Faces

AFP (Nov. 22, 2014) — Faces in an area of mosaics is the latest find by archaeologists at a recently discovered tomb dating back to fourth century BC and the time of Alexander the Great in Greece. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Returns Looted Artifacts to Thailand

US Returns Looted Artifacts to Thailand

AFP (Nov. 19, 2014) — The United States has returns over 500 vases, bowls, axes, and other ancient artifacts mostly from the Ban Chiang archaeological site which were illegally looted from Thailand decades ago. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins