- (1872-1950)Originally trained as a philosopher at the Universities of Paris and Bordeaux, Mauss spent his professional life as a researcher, despite never acquiring a doctorate. With his uncle, Émile Durkheim , and in the company of an impressive group of sociologists, anthropologists and historians that included Henri Hubert and Robert Hertz, he founded the influential journal Année sociologique, in which most of the fundamental ideas of social anthropology were first explored. Mauss's influence on social anthropology cannot be overstated. Through exploring the nature of gift relationships (The Gift, 1925) he exposed the principles of reciprocity that are unchallenged in either functionalist or structuralist anthropology. Indeed, it can be argued that the structural anthropology of Claude Lévi-Strauss would be unthinkable without its basis in the work of Mauss, not only with respect to reciprocity but also classification (see, Primitive Classification, 1903). The sociologies of exchange relations and belief systems have both been influenced by Mauss's ideas. However, despite the pathbreaking nature of his work, Mauss tended to write essays and critiques rather than books, often in collaboration with others of the Année sociologique group, and among sociologists his work has probably not received either the attention or credit that it rightly deserves. See also exchange theory.
Dictionary of sociology. 2013.
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MAUSS, MARCEL — (1872–1950), French ethnologist, sociologist, historian of religion, and polyhistorian. Born at Epinal, Mauss was a nephew of emile durkheim , who guided his education and greatly influenced him. His early interests were mainly philosophy and the … Encyclopedia of Judaism
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