The Gift of Thanks: The Roots, Persistence, and Paradoxical Meanings of a Social Ritual

The Gift of Thanks: The Roots, Persistence, and Paradoxical Meanings of a Social Ritual

Margaret Visser


often called an 'anthropologist of daily life,' Margaret Visser has, in 5 award-winning books, exposed and illuminated the interesting and unforeseen meanings of daily items and behavior. Now she turns her willing eye to a different customized so often encountered that it usually escapes observe: asserting 'Thank you.' What can we relatively suggest by way of those uncomplicated words?

This attention-grabbing inquiry into all facets of gratitude levels from the weird decision with which oldsters train their teenagers to thank, to the adaptation among talking the phrases and feeling them, to the methods assorted cultures deal with the advanced issues of giving, receiving, and returning favors and offers. Visser illuminates the basic competition in our personal tradition among gift-giving and commodity trade, and the similarities among gratitude and its contrary, vengefulness. The reward of thank you considers cultural heritage, together with the fashionable conflict of social scientists to pin down the suggestion of thankfulness and account for it, and the newly woke up clinical curiosity within the organic and evolutionary roots of emotions.

With her enticing blend of interest and erudition, Visser once more unearths the intense within the daily.

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