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Contemporary Gifts: Solidarity, Compassion, Equality, Sacrifice, and Reciprocity from an NGO Perspective

Paragi, Beáta (2017) Contemporary Gifts: Solidarity, Compassion, Equality, Sacrifice, and Reciprocity from an NGO Perspective. Current Anthropology, 58 (3). pp. 317-339. DOI 10.1086/692086

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1086/692086


Abstract

This study explores how nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) at the recipient end of the foreign aid relationship perceive partnership and cooperation with donors. Empirical research in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has revealed that relations established by foreign aid resemble archaic gift exchange in the extent to which both foreign aid and gift exchange evoke concepts of solidarity, equality, reciprocity, and related power dynamics. The results of the research indicate that return-gifts exist even in financially unreciprocated foreign aid relations. Recipients return the “contemporary gifts” by providing a special material (documenting and sharing stories of suffering or poverty) to the donor, which leads to the constant circulation of the gift (“aid for pain” and “pain for aid,” to put it bluntly). The study draws attention to the complex social and political factors that local NGOs need to navigate to secure contemporary gifts, while it may also strengthen the validity of critical theories concerning the missing rationale behind the official aims of foreign aid.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:International relations
DOI:10.1086/692086
ID Code:2909
Deposited By: MTMT SWORD
Deposited On:09 Jun 2017 13:20
Last Modified:15 May 2018 05:15

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