Marcel Mauss wrote in 1924 in his essay The Gift that he found in the motives for the exchange of gifts in "archaic" societies "one of the human rocks on which our societies are built". This thesis raises questions: How does the gift establish a social bond between people in pre-modern societies, and does it also do so in modern societies? This article addresses these questions by interpreting The Gift in the light of Marcel Mauss's notion of conviviality. The practices of the gift turn out to be persistent in modern societies without being adequately reflected upon in social theory. Therefore, a bridge is built from the ethnological theory of the gift to contemporary questions of social coexistence and the design of norms and institutions. In dialogue with philosophical and social science authors, concrete examples are used to analyse whether gift practices can represent an alternative to the application of market mechanisms. It is shown that practices in the spirit of the gift establish forms of communication that are regularly repeated, create spaces for negotiation, generate trust and reproduce it symbolically. Consequently, it is essential in modern societies to reinforce these practices in the face of the dominant organizational principles of the state and the market.
Frick, Marc (2023), La perspectiva del don: Asimetrías sociales, prosocialidad y un tercer principio más allá del estado y el mercado, Cifra