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I don't quite get the idea that heirarchical transaction is organized as opposed to reciprocity. Reciprocity, I think, is the simplest and most organized because it is the act that is reciprocated. An act of giving is reciprocated with the same act. Example, if one gives someone a ride, such act is reciprocated by the latter in some way, maybe going out for dinner or watching a movie. The quantity and quality of what is given and the status and background of the giver are not important. Exchange is the quantification of reciprocity. What is given is equal, related, or proportional to what is received. Heirarchical transaction involves class, status, gender, and all features present in receprocity and exchange. It is a complex transaction. It should be expected to be so, because heirarchy in gift-giving and receiving is born out of conflict and chaos--it can be war, famine, or economic crisis. One can demand what to receive, and another can negotiate what to give.
My question is do you think Mauss made a strong contrast between gifts and contracts and where do you stand on this issue? Could the gift be understood in some sense as the customary (non-contractual) element in contract law?
I have been impressed in longer versions of your argument here by your explanation of why the western middle classes train their children to say please and thank you. At some stage, not necssarily now, it would be great if you could make that case for the benefit of OAC readers.
Re the notion that the gift remains under-theorized, I note the absence from the references of Maurice Godelier (1999) The Enigma of the Gift, which includes a close reading and critique of both Mauss and Levi-Strauss and builds on the work of Annette Weiner as well as Godelier's own ethnography of the Baruya to develop the notion that understanding things which are kept and not exchanged is essential for understanding things which are exchanged and, thus, the nature of gifts in hierarchical vs. non-hierarchical settings.