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Gifting (or gift-giving) is a particularly interesting form of communication that envelops both material and social dimensions. Objects are transformed into gifts through particular socio-material practices. While these practices are, of course, interesting in themselves, this paper will take a step back and revisit attempts to define and theorize the gift as a concept. In a time when the gift economy is often called upon as a potential candidate for more “participatory alternatives to capitalist totality”, particularly in relation to theorizing of labour on and through the Internet, theories of gifting provide an important foundation for discussing the boundaries of alternative futures and economies.
So far, little effort has been taken to advance gift theory into a new materialist or posthumanist thinking. In an attempt to take that first step, this paper provides two contributions. First, it highlights how feminist theorizing of the gift comprises interesting forerunners in a new materialist conception of the gift. Second, it explores the analytical traction that can be gained from interlocking theories of the gift, feminist materialism and digital media, the result being a conceptual model that addresses the gift as a form of virtual-digital-material communication.
"The Performative Gift: A Feminist Materialist Conceptual Model,"
Vol. 2, Article 7.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cpo/vol2/iss1/7