Tag Archives | reciprocity

Part Two: Reciprocity and Its Discontents

Patricia G. Lange, California College of the Arts

 

Mary Douglas, a key figure in the field of anthropology, once famously asserted that in small-scale societies, “the cycling gift system is the society” (Douglas 1990). She was speaking about cultural groups that depended on elaborate systems of reciprocity—or mutual exchange of things—to support relationships and societal institutions. We may well ask, just how important is reciprocity in contemporary, commercialized, digital milieus? When are cycles of reciprocity important to take part in, and when should reciprocity be strategically withheld? Whereas my previous post discussed the existence and benefits of contemporary forms of reciprocity among social YouTubers, this post focuses on specific aspects of reciprocity that YouTubers deliberately withheld in order to maintain a more positive atmosphere of sociality and creative connection.…

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