Exchange and Emotions

  • Paul Dumouchel


Towards the beginning of The Gift (1923–24),1 Marcel Mauss mentions various rituals which occur when meetings take place after long separations and which prescribe hugging, embracing and tearful salutations. Such rituals, Mauss suggests, should be considered equivalent to the exchange of presents. Apparently the mutual expression of emotions falls, according to him, within the same category of social events as ‘the gift.’ He then adds:

In fact these [gifts or exchange of emotions] are mixtures. Souls are blended into things and things into souls. Lives are mixed, and that is how persons and things blended together leave their own sphere and are mixed: that is precisely what contract and exchange are. (1923–24: 173)


Social Differentiation Social Obligation Emotional Display Affective Expression Mutual Expression 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

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  • Paul Dumouchel

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