Gifts and Nations
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Gifts and Nations : The Obligation to Give, Receive and Repay

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Description

What can men in industrial nations learn from their "primitive" contemporaries, and the habits of earlier civilizations? This book by acclaimed cultural anthropologist Wilton S. Dillon suggests that modern political, religious, and scientific communities--and alliances--would be enhanced greatly if we understood how gift exchange and reciprocity helped to balance earlier institutions and societies.

Using the example of the gift behavior of France and the United States during the Marshall Plan period, Gifts and Nations examines the troubles that arise between donors and recipients when a generous donor remains innocent of the recipient's desire to give back things or ideas to which both attach value. Such innocence may produce what the author calls "the Gaullist effect"--a quest for self-esteem, autonomy, and initiative by a person, or a nation, who feels burdened and controlled by undischarged obligations.

Gifts and Nations is very much an historical footnote to the rise of PaxAmericana--the American empire having been launched in 1898, enlarged in the aftermath of World War II and the Cold War, and now the subject of global debate. This volume emphasizes that building coalitions and keeping alliances strong require multi-lateralism based on reciprocity.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 156 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 9.14mm | 181g
  • Transaction Publishers
  • Somerset, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0765805456
  • 9780765805454
  • 2,361,585

Review quote

"This is a complex and significant book, concise, but multilevel." -[Gifts and Nations] touches depths while it elevates, and it should set a large public on its collective tin ear.-

--Faubion Bowers, The Village Voice

-This is a complex and significant book, concise, but multi-level.-

--Margaret Mead, Teacher's College Record

-Dillon's message [in Gifts and Nations] is that healthy alliances are built on the capacity of a donor to change roles and become a recipient and then to give again. That is a valuable lesson for frustrated Americans in a needy and complicated world.-

--Bill Landsberg, The International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law "[Gifts and Nations] touches depths while it elevates, and it should set a large public on its collective tin ear."

--Faubion Bowers, The Village Voice

"This is a complex and significant book, concise, but multi-level."

--Margaret Mead, Teacher's College Record

"Dillon's message [in Gifts and Nations] is that healthy alliances are built on the capacity of a donor to change roles and become a recipient and then to give again. That is a valuable lesson for frustrated Americans in a needy and complicated world."

--Bill Landsberg, The International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law "[Gifts and Nations] touches depths while it elevates, and it should set a large public on its collective tin ear."

--Faubion Bowers, The Village Voice

"This is a complex and significant book, concise, but multi-level."

--Margaret Mead, Teacher's College Record

"Dillon's message [in Gifts and Nations] is that healthy alliances are built on the capacity of a donor to change roles and become a recipient and then to give again. That is a valuable lesson for frustrated Americans in a needy and complicated world."

--Bill Landsberg, The International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law
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About Wilton S. Dillon

Wilton S. Dillon is former president of the Institute for Intercultural Studies (founded by Margaret Mead) at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and senior scholar emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution. His four Smithsonian decades drew upon earlier experience as a soldier, journalist, college teacher, foundation executive, and science diplomat. He is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley, and holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University. Additionally, he was honored by the French government with the Chevalier des arts et des lettres, in part, for his book Gifts and Nations.
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