of The Gift Economy

Forgiving: A Feminist Criticism of Exchange
[Entire Book Online]

Homo Donans
[Entire Book Online]

Articles and Essays by Genevieve Vaughan

Athanor: Il Dono, the gift, a feminist analysis


Many Voices discuss The Gift Economy



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This collection of articles is the product of an international network of women who embrace in one way or another the idea of the logic of gift giving as the basis of a paradigm shift for social change. Many of the women first met each other at a meeting at the Feminist University in Loten, Norway in 2000. The meeting, which was organized by Norweigen Berit As and Italian Paola Melchiori, brought together women from South and North to share their experiences and ideas for change. Many of the women there were interested in the idea of the gift economy and became the core of a network which has since met and given presentations in numerous places around the world, including workshops at the World Social Forums in Brazil and India.

Gift giving exists in many places but is made invisible by Patriarchal Capitalism. It has structured viable economies in indigenous cultures. Inside Capitalism it can be seen in such large-scale phenomena as women's free housework, and the remittances sent by immigrants to their families in their home countries. A case can be made that gift giving is the basis of communication. Exchange, giving in order to receive a quantitative equivalent, is its determined opposite.

The logic of gift giving forms the basis of a paradigm that is radically different from the worldview based on the logic of exchange. The new/old paradigm, though unrecognized, is already widespread and could be the basis of a better way of organizing society.

It is fitting that this collection of articles, which is an expression of the international women's movement, is published as a volume of Athanor in English in Italy, with the help of Augusto Ponzio and Susan Petrilli of the University of Bari. The authors extend their heartfelt thanks for the gift of hospitality that has welcomed them to these pages. The articles in this issue of Athanor and ithe very fact of its publication are examples of the collective and collaborative gift giving that are needed to make a better world.

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