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The Gift and its Forms of Life in Contemporary India

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    Rights statement: © Cambridge University Press. Copeman, J. (2011). The Gift and Its Forms of Life in Contemporary India.Modern Asian Studies, 45(5), 1051-1094 doi: 10.1017/S0026749X11000205

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1094
Number of pages44
JournalModern Asian Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


This paper seeks to document and interpret some of the many life forms of the gift of dan in contemporary India. It attempts to be both summative in reflecting on the recent extremely productive literature on dan and programmatic in identifying emergent themes and instances of dan that require more detailed analysis at present and in the future. The paper focuses in particular on highly public forms of dan, and examines the relationship between dan and modernist modes of philanthropy. It discusses the giving of dan online and biomedical variants of dan which foreground sacrifice. The paper is not a final statement but a call to focus attention on new terrains of dan and the continuing vitality of this distinctive set of exchange categories.

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