Theories of the Gift in South Asia: Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain Reflections on Dana

Theories of the Gift in South Asia: Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain Reflections on Dana

Theories of the Gift in South Asia: Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain Reflections on Dana

Theories of the Gift in South Asia: Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain Reflections on Dana

Synopsis

This book explores the ethical and social implications of unilateral gifts of esteem, offering a perceptive guide to the uniquely South Asian contributors to theoretical work on the gift.

Excerpt

We are pleased to present the ninth in the Routledge first book series: Religion in History, Society and Culture, a series designed to bring exciting new work by young scholars on religion to a wider audience. We have two goals in mind: First, we wish to publish work that extends and illuminates our theoretical understanding of religion as a dimension of human culture and society. Understanding religion has never been a more pressing need. Longstanding academic habits of either compartmentalizing, or altogether ignoring, religion are breaking down. With the entry of religion into the academy, however, must come a fully realized conversation about what religion is and how it interacts with history, society and culture. Our goal is to publish books that self-reflectively utilize and develop contextually sensitive categories and methods of analysis that advance our knowledge of religion generally, of a particular religious traditions and/or of a particular moment in the history of religions in a particular part of the world.

Second, this series will be self-consciously interdisciplinary. the academic study of religion is conducted by historians, sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists, art historians, ethno-musicologists, psychologists, and others. We hope to bring before the interested reader an array of disciplinary lenses through which to view religion. Believing that the instability of the category itself should be a stimulus for further investigation, religion will be broadly understood to encompass a wide range of religiously oriented phenomena that include myths, rituals, ways of thought, communities, political and social movements, legal traditions and systems, performances and texts, artistic productions, gendered roles, identity formation, etc,

In this book, Maria Heim accomplishes a remarkable methodological and substantive breakthrough in the historical study of South Asian religion and religious ethics. At the same time she makes a highly creative intervention in discussions concerning the theory of "the gift"-discussions that have been, at least since the time of Marcel Mauss, a central focus of attention in the philosophy of

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