Sharing: Allowing others to take what is valued

Thomas Widlok


Sharing adds a paradox to the question of transfer and value: Why do people share what they value even though they cannot count on a return? This contribution breaks with the conventional assumption that practices of sharing are simple prestages of more complex reciprocal gift-exchange or commodity transactions. Instead I consider sharing to be a complex social phenomenon that makes rather specific requirements in regard to bodily copresence, relatedness, and interaction. Based on ethnographic field research I also suggest that forms of “demand sharing” should not be considered to be aberrations since they conform particularly well to the values enshrined in sharing.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau3.2.003