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The Enigma of Gift and Sacrifice


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About the Author

Edith Wyschogrod is J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Rice University and author of Emmanuel Levinas: The Problem of Ethical Metaphysics. Jean-Joseph Goux is Lawrence H. Favrot Professor of French Studies at Rice University and author of Frivolite de la valeur: essal sur l'imaginaire du capitalisme and The Coiners of Language. Eric Boynton is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at Rice University.


Based on a conference held at Rice University in 1999, this volume is an interesting addition to recent philosophically informed literature on the gift. Following a brief introductory essay by Wyschogrod, the volume is divided into three sections. The first, with essays by Maurice Godelier, George E. Marcus, and Mark C. Taylor, explores the social, economic, and political functions of gift-giving in the context of the global economy. The second section, with essays by Stephen A. Tyler and Genevieve Vaughan, examines how language and gender influence the role that giving plays in shaping communities. The final section, responding to the work of Derrida and Levinas, addresses the ambiguities and paradoxes of gift-giving and the gift's relation to alterity, with essays by John D. Caputo, Jean-Joseph Goux, and Adriaan Peperzak. Drawing from anthropology, religion, and philosophy, the essays are all of high quality and will be accessible to a broad and multidisciplinary audience. This volume complements nicely the collections edited by Alan Schrift (The Logic of the Gift: Toward an Ethic of Generosity, 1997) and Aafke Komter (The Gift: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, 1996) and would be a welcome addition to academic libraries. Of interest to undergraduates through faculty. * -Choice *

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