News vom 05.05.2017
by Dr. Shervin Farridnejad
May 19, 2017; 14:10-15:30
Institute for Advanced Study, Budapest, Hungary
An open lecture in the context of the international joint event "Dangerous Gifts & Pernicious Transactions from Antiquity to the Digital Age" organized by Institute for Advanced Study at CEU and the Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at CEU, Budapest, Hungary.
“Gifts make slaves as whips make dogs.” Dangerous, violent, and self-destructive gift-giving remains an alluring challenge for historians and anthropologists almost a hundred years after Marcel Mauss’s landmark essay on the gift. Globally, the notion of toxic and fateful gift has haunted mythologies, folklores, and literatures for millennia. Yet even in everyday practice—to say nothing of more brittle spheres such as politics or religion—it is not always easy to draw a line between voluntary giving and coercion, between generosity and excess, between benevolence and insult, and between gratitude and bribery. No matter how much modern consumerist ideology pursues and tries to exploit the idea of a “pure” gift that is gratuitous, wholesome, and pleasing, the ambiguity of gift-giving is deeply embedded in human culture: the dark side of the gift is the shadow of the perfect gift.