ANT 101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Cross-cultural comparison of gift-giving: is there such a thing as a Free Gift?!
We have been examining different exchange systems in various cultures around the world and in all of them there is some aspect of gift giving. In our society there is an assumption that gifts are given freely without obligation or expectation. Is this true? In many of the traditional societies depicted in our readings and films gift giving involves obligation and the creation of social and economic ties.
For this assignment, please read two of the resource articles (listed below) and compare at least two gift-giving examples with one of your own. Think of your customs, at Christmas, New Year celebration, baby showers; any occasion where gifts are given. What do your customs share with other cultural examples of gift-giving? How are they different? You must support your opinion with a well-structured argument citing facts and observations from your chosen articles. In addition to citing two articles, you may also include any of the films we have seen in class.
Finally, what do you think of the concept of the “free gift”. Does it really exist? Why or why not?