Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme

Call for Papers

Feminist Gift Economy Theorizing and Practice:
A Matricentric Alternative to Patriarchy

32.2/3 (Summer/Fall 2016)

 Guest edited by: Barbara Alice Mann, Vicki Noble, Chang Pilwha, Coumba Toure and Genevieve Vaughan


 DEADLINE: February 28, 2017

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The aim of this issue of CWS/cf is to recognize and give value to unilateral gifting and to explore the new theoretical and practical understandings and political possibilities uncovered by the recognition of its maternal roots. The study of Indigenous gift economies in the West denies the importance of direct unilateral giving and some have even questioned its existence. However a great deal of unilateral giving is called for in the practice of care by mothers, who are usually women but can also be men, other children, or entire villages.

Recognizing the maternal roots of giving is important for understanding that it embodies an economy, which is radically different from the economy of the market based on quid pro quoexchange and moves beyond the market logic of do ut des towards a logic of “alter-centrism.” Though presently exploited and contradicted by market exchange and the values of homo economicus, it is on the basis of this matricentric alternative that our catastrophic  patriarchal capitalist system can be radically transformed.

Possible Topics Include:

 •Unilateral gift giving as opposed to or in conflict with exchange; the two paradigms of giving-receiving and exchange; patriarchy and exchange; patriarchy and the market; patriarchy and capitalism; patriarchal philosophy as the denial and distortion of gift giving and the mother; the gift economy inside and outside patriarchal capitalism; profit as the seizure of gifts; the market as a beneficiary of the gift economy; givers colluding with their own oppression by giving to the market and patriarchy.

•Presence of the gift in the womb, in birth, and particularly in mothering and being mothered: the child and the mother as giving and receiving, as playing the roles of giver, gift and receiver, the child as gift; gifts of the body, breast milk, motherwork, gifts in early childhood, nurturance, collective mothering.

•Unilateral gift in Indigenous societies and its persistence there even when institutions of market exchange supervene

•Appropriation and privatization of gifts: land, water, air, seeds, fertilizer, life-forms, traditional knowledges.

•Contemporary experiments in gift economy on the Internet, in eco villages and other initiatives, assessments of these in terms of unilateral gift giving and in terms of commodification. The commercialization of Facebook, Google, etc.

•Partial solutions: volunteerism, welfare, subsidies and many others; their erosion as another seizure of gifts.

•Connection between the unilateral gift economy and: environmentalism, Mother Earth; women’s spirituality; feminism; feminist economics; Marxism; ‘commonism’; community building,  anarchism; new theories of child development, language learning, and other perspectives;

•The model of gifting for epistemology and as the basis of communication and interaction among adults.

•Differences between a gift approach and individualistic ‘rights’ approaches; neo-classical economic approaches; essentialist approaches….

•The unwarranted exclusion of gifting from patriarchal scientific discourse

•False identification of gifting with childhood and “primitives” and the false identification of the market with maturity and “development.”

•Falsifying/Seizure of the gift economy by institutions like patriarchal religions and nations and the patriarchal family by framing gift giving:

•as instinctual; as women’s “nature”; as morality; as sacrifice;

•as false “gifts” of war, of serving one’s country, of giving one’s life for one’s country. 

 Your ideas for additional topics are welcome.

Invited are essays, research reports, true stories, alternative forms of narration, poetry, drawings, and other art works that illuminate these issues.

 DEADLINE: February 28, 2017

Articles should be typed, double-spaced, and a maximum of 16 pages long (4000 words).  A short (50-word) abstract of the article and a brief biographical note must accompany each submission. Please send a hard copy of your manuscript as well as emailing a copy. We give preference to previously unpublished material. If possible, please submit graphics or photographs to accompany your article. Please note CWS/cf reserves the right to edit manuscripts with respect to length and clarity, and in conformity with our house-style. To encourage use of the material published, CWS/cf has granted electronic rights to Ebsco, Gale Group, Micromedia Proquest, and the H. W. Wilson. Any royalties received will be used by CWS/cf to assist the publication in disseminating its message.

 Write or call as soon as possible indicating your intention to submit your work.

Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme
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