Contrary to appearances, I think it is by its more strictly philosophic method that ethnology is distinguished from sociology. “De quelques formes primitives de classification.” Année Sociologique 6: 1–72. Published in English as Part I of the volume Sociology and psychology: Essays (1979). : 31–32). The first problem pertains to the relationship that exists between our psychopath and the sorcerer. What, then, is the meaning of pathology and its cure? The notion of magic that he applies (like that of the gift, later) is taken from a Melanesian interpretation of magic’s potential. But his wasn't a self-satisfied knowledge, forgetful of how things are always vaster than what they seem. In the Italian original: cosizzato.—Trans. But adopting such a method implies studying cultural facts at the level where they become similar to linguistic facts, and thus at the level of the subconscious rules of speech. Troubetzkoy, for example, according to his autobiographical notes, was already convinced just a few years later that “ethnology, history of religion, culture history, etc. Marcel Mauss THE GIFT: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies ©1967, Norton Library I have never found a man so generous and hospitable that he would not receive a present, nor one so liberal with his money that he would dislike a reward if he could get one. When cultural phenomena, so to speak, are of the same order of the language used to discuss them, the weight of the words is much less perceptible. The assertion that “sociology is only a part of biology just like psychology” (ibid. Mauss realizes that it is not possible to explain it from an intellectualist perspective, as British anthropology had done. Again: people considered “abnormal” (because unexplainable or socially unclassifiable), such as women during menstruation, children (a world in themselves), psychopaths, foreigners, etc., are particularly fertile ground for magical phenomena, under the psychological pressure of the group. But, in addition, in giving them, a man gives himself, and he does so because he owes himself—himself and his possessions—to others” (44–45). The gift is a perfect example of what Mauss calls a total social phenomenon, since it involves legal, economic, moral, religious, aesthetic, and other dimensions. This classification, on the other hand, is strictly complementary to the psychological problem that the pathological elements themselves pose to the group, and to the “abnormal” tendencies that are repressed in “normal” individuals. 2. One must first observe the differences in order to discover the properties” (1966: 30– 31). This too is a field that still lies ahead for anthropology. “In the economic and legal systems that have preceded our own, one hardly ever finds a simple exchange of goods, wealth, and products in transactions concluded by individuals. So, paradoxically, despite aging, Mauss becomes increasingly “new,” and one is obliged to take a stance, as we are barely at the beginning of the road he has mapped out. The originality of the themes he addresses and the brilliance with which he sketches a solution sets in motion his readers, pushing them forward, beyond the page, so that they cannot but sense him as being both dated and contemporary at the same time, as it is he who pushes beyond himself. The techniques of the body are “the ways in which from society to society men know how to use their bodies” (97). Society responds to the individual’s demands with certain behavioral models that correspond to certain specific possibilities for fitting into the social organization. Marcel Mauss was a French sociologist. The single principle of magical facts cannot be obtained with the normal inductive process we use for our own cultural facts. We are grateful to Critica Storica and Janet Hoskins for their kind permission to publish this translation. Mauss does not belittle modern gifting by the contrast, but stresses the need for a better awareness and more intentioned giving within modern society. If things are given and returned it is precisely because one gives and returns ‘respects’ and ‘courtesies’. Mauss’ value, regarding the question we have tried to clarify, is that he was the first to shed light on the terms of the problem. The laws of unconscious activity reside in fact beyond subjective learning, but determine the modalities of this learning. The conclusion Mauss draws from the archaic system of exchange goes as follows: “the spirit of gift-exchange is characteristic of societies which have passed the phase of ‘total prestation’ (between clan and clan, family and family) but have not yet reached the stage of pure individual contract, the money market, sale proper, fixed price, and weighed and coined money” (45). Mauss thus wants to avoid the danger of interpreting categories that are alien to us with our own. The conclusion Mauss draws from the archaic system of exchange goes as follows: “the spirit of gift-exchange is characteristic of societies which have passed the phase of ‘total prestation’ (between clan and clan, family and family) but have not yet reached the stage of pure individual contract, the money market, sale proper, fixed price, and weighed and coined money” (45). Mauss actually attributes a lot of importance to the subconscious. 9. Valeri’s article, written in 1966 and informed in part by writings of Lévi-Strauss, is a still-timely synthetic explication of the graceful longevity of Mauss’ oeuvre. This myth was like a limit concept, from which the direction of our civilization’s progress could be observed and evaluated. That same year, he moved to the United States and began teaching in the Anthropology Department of the University of Chicago where he remained as Professor of Anthropology until his death in 1998. It is a synthesis immediately given to, and given by, symbolic thought, which, in exchange as in any other forms of communication, surmounts the contradiction inherent in it; that is the contradiction of perceiving things as elements of dialogue, in respect of self and others simultaneously, and destined by nature to pass from the one to the other. It is interesting to note that Mauss explicitly affirms in The gift: “it is only our Western societies that quite recently turned man into an economic animal” (1969: 74). Humboldt (1920: 21) too was convinced that an objective knowledge of man required an analysis of the entirety of man’s subjectivities: “the subjectivity of humanity as a whole becomes however in itself something objective.”. If the fact needs to be reconstructed in all its dimensions, bridging the gap between social and physiological facts, then it will be necessary to see how representations and social relationships condition man’s corporeal being and how the latter, in turn, makes the former possible. This seems to be the culminating point of a whole system of prestations and counter-prestations: “the kula is the gathering point of many other institutions” (25). Dieus Verais – The “Other God?” – from P. Cardenal, Mauss and the Agonistic Character of the Potlatch. One sets oneself as a problem only by considering all men, and thus all the living manifestations of man. This topic, which mobilizes and raises the question of the complex relations between the physiological, psychological, and sociological dimensions, will never cease to interest Mauss who, in 1909, again in collaboration with Hubert, was to write an essay on “L'origine des pouvoirs magiques dans les sociétés australiennes,” and in 1926 a comment—published in Journal de psychologie normale et pathologique—on the physical effects that the community’s ideas about death have on the single individual.