The author offers a paradigm-shifting view of the structure of material and verbal communication, based on the mother-child experience and confirmed by recent research in infant psychology. This view justifies a relational epistemology that informs the material gift economy, as well as the structure of language itself. Provisioning economies give value to the receivers, and the circulation of gifts consolidates community. Understanding language as verbal gifting unites other orientations with reason, to liberate us from biopathic, patriarchal conceptions of humanity. Sketched against this background, Vaughan introduces a conception of monetized exchange as a gift-denying and expropriating psychological mechanism, which is an unintended collective by product of verbal communication.
For-Giving, a Feminist Criticism of Exchange, first published in 1997 is an analysis of the values of gift giving seen as an economic mode of distribution based in maternal practice, and opposed to the self-reflecting and ego-oriented values of exchange on which the market economy is based. The values of Patriarchy entwine with those of Capitalism to create an economic system of domination, while a maternal economy would provide for everyone and promote a community-oriented subjectivity which would also honor Mother Nature. This book gives a woman based perspective on the gift economy as a basis for social change.
In this book Genevieve weaves together some of her newest articles exploring the possibility that gift giving is a fundamental interpretative key for the understanding of language and life, a key which has been cancelled by the ideology and practise of patriarchal capitalism. The restoration of gift giving to a central place in our attention, gives us a way to reconceptualize human beings as Homo Donans, not just Homo Sapiens, or worse, Homo Economicus.
Some book also available in German, Turkish, Albanian and Spanish.