Contemporary Consumption Rituals: A Research Anthology

By Cele C. Otnes; Tina M. Lowrey | Go to book overview
Save to active project

In the Spotlight:
The Drama of Gift Reception
David B. Wooten
University of Michigan
Stacy L. Wood
University of South Carolina

Gift exchange is a consumption ritual of great economic (e.g., Camerer, 1988), social (e.g., Cheal, 1987), and psychological significance (e.g., Neisser, 1973). Although the form and functions of these rituals vary across the occasions and cultures they span, some aspects are common across gift exchange rituals (Green & Alden, 1988). For instance, with few exceptions (e.g., Mick & DeMoss, 1990; Sherry, McGrath, & Levy, 1995), gift rituals involve giver and recipient as primary performance roles. The two principal cast members have freedom to choose how they enact their roles, but ritual scripts cue them to incorporate certain acts and props into their performances.

Although givers and recipients are coperformers in gift exchange rituals, they rarely receive equal billing in the literature. For instance, recent studies have explored motives that influence how givers enact their roles (e.g., Otnes, Lowrey, & Kim, 1993) and factors that make them agonize over their performances (Wooten, 2000). In contrast, researchers have paid little attention to the performance of gift reception (Sherry, 1996). This inattention is surprising given the excessive attention paid by givers, especially as recipients unwrap and respond to their gifts (Schwartz, 1967). Recipients' performances are part of the interaction ritual that occurs after gifts are presented (Sherry, 1983). Moreover, gift receipt experiences shape and reflect relationships between givers and recipients (Ruth, Otnes, & Brunei, 1999). These insights suggest that greater knowledge of gift reception can provide a deeper understanding of gift exchange rituals.

This chapter addresses a gap in the gift-giving literature by exploring the ritual behaviors of gift recipients. Gift recipients were interviewed, their public reactions to gifts were observed, and their written expressions of gratitude were analyzed in order to understand their internal scripts and expressive behaviors. Be


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Contemporary Consumption Rituals: A Research Anthology
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 332

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?