The Maternal Roots of the Gift Economy


edited by Genevieve Vaughan

Print: 978-1-77133-409-9 – $39.95

350 Pages
January 20, 2019

The idea of a free gift economy has become important in the movement for alternative economics, however the connection with women and especially with mothers has not been widely understood. The conference “The Maternal Roots of the Gift Economy,” held in Rome in 2015, brought together women and men from around the world to discuss this important issue.In a moment when the values of Patriarchy and the market seem to have triumphed, the values of mothering and care are more sorely needed than ever. This book explores many aspects of the gift paradigm from a variety of points of view, taking into account theory and practice, activism and spirituality, as well as the experience of Indigenous societies North and South where maternal values are still at the centre for both women and men. Readers will find abundant evidence of ways of thinking and being that are possible beyond the Patriarchal Capitalism that is now threatening the existence of life on Mother Earth. The book is divided into four sections: Theory, Practice, Practice in Non-Western Realites and Spiritualities. Articles are by well-known scholars and activists from around the world and include: Luciana Percovich, Mariam Irene Tazi-Preve, Erella Shadmi, Simone Woerer, Susan Petrilli, Kaarina Kailo, Heide Goettner-Abendroth, Barbara Alice Mann, Coumba Touré, Diem LaFortune, Vicky Noble, and many more.


The Maternal Roots of the Gift Economy

Genevieve Vaughan has been working for many years on the idea of a gift economy founded on mothering and being mothered as the basis of an alternative worldview and way of life. She created the international all-women activist Foundation for a Compassionate Society based in Austin, Texas (1987-2005), one of the continuing projects of which is the Temple of the Goddess Sekhmet in Cactus Springs, Nevada, founded in 1992. She also initiated a network: International Feminists for a Gift Economy (2001to present) whose members give presentations on the gift economy at conferences worldwide. Genevieve lives part time in Rome, Italy, and part time in Austin, Texas. Many of the videos of the gift economy conferences, a film on the most recent one, “The Maternal Roots of the Gift Economy,” a film on Genevieve’s life, “Giving for Giving,” as well as relevant articles and resources can be accessed free on her website: www.gift-economy.com. Her published books include For-Giving: A Feminist Criticism of Exchange (1997); Homo Donans (2007); and The Gift in the Heart of Language (2015). She has edited two anthologies The Gift/ il Dono: A Feminist Analysis (2004) and Women and the Gift Economy: A Radically Different Worldview is Possible (2007). She is presently working on her autobiography.

To review individual chapters please click on the name linked below:

Introduction – Genevieve Vaughan


Genevieve Vaughan, A Rationale for Peace: The Maternal Gift Economy

Luciana Percovich, The Great Ladies of Gift and Abundance

Mariam Irene Tazi-Preve, The Perversion of the Maternal Gift

Erella Shadmi, Maternal Principles as the Alternative to Equality Feminism, Post-humanism and Post-genderism

Francesca Brezzi, Philosophy of the Gift: The Voice of Women

Elena Pulcini, Is Care a Gift?

Alberto Castagnola, Recent Contributions to the Theory of the Gift: The Perspective of Degrowth

Daniela Falcioni, Receiving, that is, Giving

Angela Giuffrida, The Conceptual Foundation of the Gift Economy According to the Theory of the Thinking Body

Simone Woerer, The Crisis of the Gift

Susan Petrilli, “On The Gift in the Heart of Language” by Genevieve Vaughan


Angela Dolmetsch, Nashira, Building a New Matriarchal Cociety in Colombia Based on the Gift Economy

Lyn Daniels, Wonderland: An Exploration of Feminist Communities

Kaarina Kailo, The Decline and Appropriation of the Gifts of the Finnish Social State: The Gender Impact of Neoliberal Policies

Elena Skoko,The Gift Economy in Maternity and Birth

Anna Cossetta, The gift, Women and the Internet

Practice in non-Western realities

Heide Goettner-Abendroth, The Relation Between Modern Matriarchal Studies and the Gift Paradigm

Francesca Rosati-Freeman, From Traditional Values to Real Gifts in the Mosuo Society: When Solidarity, Sharing, Reciprocity and Unconditional Love Translate into Concrete, Immediate and Lasting gifts

Barbara Alice Mann, The Mother-Father Aspects of the Twinned Cosmos

Pat McCabe, Maternal Roots, Paternal Roots, Spiritual Roots

Coumba Touré, The Traditional Forms of Adoption in Africa

Diem LaFortune, Adoption Patriarchal Capitalist Style: The Violation of the Gift (has been changed?)


Morena Luciani Russo, The Gift of Bread and Female Shamanism

Camila Martinez, The Great Gift of Indigenous Sacred Medicine

Luisa Spagna, Dancing on the Breath of the Yoginis

Vicki Noble, The Natural Gift of Female Healing


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