Category:Economies of favours

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Entries in this part are open secrets in societies related to re-distribution and informal exchange. From the economies of favours to the exchange of gifts and informal payments, it is the banality of informality that is the elephant in the room, invisible because it is every-day, routine, taken for granted, common and small on the one hand and omnipresent and big on the other. The social contexts of gifts, favours and payments that defy clear borders between materiality and non-materiality make such social exchanges particularly elusive and hard to pin down. In this chapter, entries illustrate social exchanges of what is neither gift nor commodity, neither gift nor payment, neither material nor non-material and thus represent cases and contexts of substantive ambivalence, the ideal type of tension between sociability and instrumentality.