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The “Social” as Reciprocity: Marcel Mauss and the Idea of Nation

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Chapter Summary

The study of religious phenomena represents the main themes of the reflections that Marcel Mauss develops within the ambit of the Durkheimian school of thought. This chapter examines some of the stages of Maussian thought, and aims to demonstrate how he made an important contribution to overcoming a static concept of society, closed within the confines of the nation-state. In particular, two lines of thought are followed. With the first, the aim is to make explicit the foundational nature assumed in his thinking by comparing phenomena of the relations between societies with those attributable to a single society that seem to be much more recent and still badly defined: in other words, nations. With the second, the aim is to place the emphasis on the peculiar meaning with which Mauss inflects the concept of "nation", distinguishing it from that of "nationalism" on the one hand and "State" on the other.

Keywords: Maussian thought; nationalism; society



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