The pleasure of expense: Mauss and The Gift in contemporary art

Sansi-Roca, Roger. 2014. The pleasure of expense: Mauss and The Gift in contemporary art. Journal of Classical Sociology, 14(1), pp. 91-99. ISSN 1468-795X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Mauss’s The Gift has captured the imagination of generations of artists. As artistic practice shifted from the production of objects to the mediation of situations of social exchange, Mauss’s focus on the ‘pleasure of expense’ has been central, from Bataille and the situationists to relational aesthetics. In most of these cases, Mauss’s arguments were used to question the market economy in ways rather more radical than he himself would have done. However, my objective in this article is not to criticize how Mauss has been misunderstood, but to show how his work has opened a field of new possibilities in art theory and practice.

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Bataille, gift, Mauss, potlatch, relational aesthetics, situationism.

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February 2014Published

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Date Deposited:

15 Oct 2014 09:53

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2017 12:46

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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