Gift is not only the Present, but also the Future: The Food Offering Practice of Turkish Women


Year: 2019 Vol: 1 Number: 1


The literature on the transformation of modes of exchange tacitly asserts a linear history where the mode of exchange transforms from being a pure gift into being a form of debt. Yet, the transformation of a gift exchange practice by Turkish women where they offer food to their neighbors provides a counter-argument to this linear history, by asserting an alternative cyclical history. In other words, after transforming into a form of latent indebtedness, Turkish women’s food offerings to their neighbors during the course of their daily routines has transformed into a pseudo-gift within a financialized world. Based on the data derived from in-depth interviews, this study first aims at describing in detail how this food and the resulting plate traffic transpires in the daily lives of Turkish women. Secondly, this study seeks to illustrate how this practice has transformed into something of a pseudo-gift that undermines solidarity among neighbors by loosening the social ties among them (this being the reason why it is called pseudo) while still having the potential to maintain solidarity since it is very close to a pure gift. All in all, this study is willing to point out alternative forms of exchange in daily life within a world dominated by debtoriented market capitalism.

food offerings, mode of exchange, gift, indebtedness, pseudo-gift

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