ISBN is

978-0-8047-2695-5 / 9780804726955

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About the book:

Gift-giving is a classic topic in anthropology, where on-going debates involve the principle of reciprocity, the spirit of the gift, and the relationship between gifts and commodities. In this study, the author examines the gift-giving and related social activities that pervade daily life in China, focusing on routine activities - visits between relatives, exchanges of food and labour between neighbours, gift-giving between friends - while not ignoring such special occasions as weddings and funerals. He constructs a classification of exchange behaviour in village society, examining the items of presentation, the types of gift-giving activities, and the hierarchical arrangement of givers and receivers. He also presents new interpretations of key concepts involved in Chinese gift-giving: guanxi (social networks), renqing (norms of interpersonal behaviour), mianzi (face), and bao (reciprocity). The book concludes by showing how the village gift economy has adjusted and survived in response to the radical social changes engendered by four decades of socialism.

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