The Other Side of the Gift: Soliciting in Java – A Discussion

Konstantinos Retsikas


This paper inquires into some of the hidden dimensions of anthropological thought about the gift and giving, making the case for a new approach to value transfers. Such an approach is delineated through critical engagement with both Mauss’s original work on the subject and the work of other scholars, in particular Strathern’s new Melanesian ethnography and Derrida’s deconstructive readings. In addition, by means of drawing upon ethnographic research on Muslim practices in Java, Indonesia, the paper highlights the importance of soliciting as an alternative concept for thinking about value transfers, stressing, in particular, the significance of activities of taking for a new and different perspective on the complexities that permeate the social. The main article is followed by commentaries from Carla Jones, Daromir Rudnyckyj and Guido Sprenger, as well as a reply from the author.


gift; Derrida; solicitation; zakat; Mauss; Java; Indonesia

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ISSN: 2364-3730