Saturday, November 22, 2008

Giving for Giving - the video

My friend Genevieve Vaughan is the author and editor of many books, ranging from the long and scholarly For-Giving: A Feminist Criticism of Exchange, to children's books. Some of her books can be downloaded online, as well as ordered in physical print copies. A recent film biography of her life has come out, and I want to share that with the blog readers. Here is my first attempt to embed a YouTube link. The film is about an hour long and the 8 short sections will play continuously. Enjoy!

Special thanks to Felicia Hayes for posting this video on YouTube.


The following text is adapted from a description of Genevieve on a program where she was a featured international speaker in 2007.

Genevieve Vaughan works at the intersection of theory and practice through her theorization of the gift economy as a counter-discourse addressing patriarchy and global capitalism.

The gift economy is one in which goods are distributed to needs. The logic is based on “mothering” in which a relationship between giver and receiver is one in which the former responds to the needs of the latter. The transaction of giving and receiving creates bonds which can be seen as the basis of the circulation of goods in economies without markets as such. These gift transactions have been viewed through the market perspective as exchanges ( do ut des); however, the maternal distribution of good directly to needs can be seen as a foundational social principle which has been absorbed and co-opted by market exchange, but not eliminated.

Considering mothering as a mode of distribution that coexists with or lies beneath the market economy allows us to think of it as an economic structure with its own superstructure of ideas and values: other-oriented, people-before-profits values, coming from and validating the process of unilateral giving and receiving.

The gift principle informs Homo Donans in opposition to ego centered homo economicus and is an important element in the values that motivate work for social changes and a vision of alternative “nurturing” economics based on need and not on profit.

These values and the gift mode of distribution already exist though they are presently burdened by parasitic Capitalist Patriarchy. By bringing them forward we can create the leadership necessary for a maternal revolution.

Genevieve Vaughan has made four ebooks available (free) online at her website: Homo Donans; Il Dono/The Gift: A Feminist Analysis; Women and the Gift Economy and For-Giving: A Feminist Criticism of Exchange. Website:

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