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Gifting Practices and Interorganizational Relations: Constructing Obligation Networks in the Electronics Sector

Asaf Darr
Sociological Forum
Vol. 18, No. 1 (Mar., 2003), pp. 31-51
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3648878
Page Count: 21
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Gifting Practices and Interorganizational Relations: Constructing Obligation Networks in the Electronics Sector
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Abstract

Sociologists and economic anthropologists often implicitly associate capitalist societies with the commodity form and preindustrial societies with the gift form. In contrast, this ethnographic study of the sales of electronics components shows that gifting and commodity exchange actually are inextricably intertwined in contemporary markets. Commodity exchange depends on obligation networks created and sustained, in part, by gifting and countergifting. Each juncture of the sales process has an associated type of gifting. Gifts provide the social basis for a moral economy that governs the construction of sales networks.

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