Social solidarity and the gift

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This book brings together two traditions of thinking about social ties: sociological

theory on solidarity and anthropological theory on gift exchange. The

purpose of the book is to explore how both theoretical traditions may complete

and enrich each other, and how they may illuminate transformations

in solidarity. The main argument, supported by empirical illustrations, is

that a theory of solidarity should incorporate some of the core insights from

anthropological gift theory. The book presents a theoretical model covering

both positive and negative – selective and excluding – aspects and consequences

of solidarity. It is concluded that over the past century solidarity

has undergone a fundamental transformation, from Durkheim’s “organic”

solidarity to a type of solidarity that can be called “segmented”: separate,

autonomous social segments connecting with other segments, no longer out

of necessity and mutual dependency but on the basis of individual choice.

Solidarity has, thereby, become more noncommittal.

AafkeE.Komter isProfessor of Social Science occupying the endowed chair of

Comparative Studies of Social Solidarity of Utrecht University, and Head of

the Department of Social Science at University College, Utrecht. Her articles

on informal giving, reciprocity and solidarity, power, morality, and gender

issues have appeared in international journals such as Sociology, the Journal

of Marriage and the Family, and the Journal of Family Issues. She is editor of

The Gift: An Interdisciplinary Perspective.

Social Solidarity and the Gift

Y

AAFKE E. KOMTER

Utrecht University

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, Sгo Paulo

Cambridge University Press

The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge

© Cambridge University Press 2005

Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521841009

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Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York

www.cambridge.org

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