Genevieve Vaughan | Reviews
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“Genevieve Vaughan’s new book „The Gift in the Heart of Language“ presents the breadth and depth of her grounbreaking thoughts on the gift economy. The philosophical and linguistic thinking on this topic is traced back by her to its basic ground, which usually is made invisible: the mother-child interaction. The unilateral, free giving of mothers: care and nurturing as material gifts and language as communicative gift, is emphasized as model of the vast field of all gift giving.”

“Opposed to this, Vaughan analyses the exchange economy of the capitalist market system: its “making money” exploits parasitically the gift economy and manipulates the language gifts. Her analysis means a radical paradigm shift of the Western capitalist and patriarchal worldwiev by turning it upside down to the origins of life: the gifting of Mother Earth, the gifting of mothers and other nurturing persons, and the gifting of indigenous matriarchal societies, where the mother is the prototype and maternal values permeate the societal life.”

“A powerful book apt to change our mindset radically providing far reaching political consequences for our future.”

Dr. Heide Goettner-Abendroth
Independent German philosopher and scholar, founder of the International Academy HAGIA for modern Matriarchal Studies

“As a feminist and peace activist and scholar, I find The Gift in the Heart of Language as mind-blowing and ground-breaking.”

“In the midst of both civilization crisis caused by patriarchal neoliberals and social change crisis rooted in feminists’ and activists’ inability to move us forward to post capitalism, Vaughan’s new book – the crest of her writing so far – innovatively and correctly defines the problem, that is, the exchange system, and the way out: the maternal logic of the Gift. The liberation of the Gift model requires much more then what often proposed by other writers and activists: transformation of consciousness.”

“For me it is the revolution today feminism and transformative activists urgently need.”

Dr. Erella Shadmi
Former Head of Women’s Studies Program, Beit Berl Academic College, Israel

“In a world sorely missing mothering, Genevieve Vaughan nurtures our awareness about the gift-givingness of our species, of Nature and Being. She reminds us that we are best constructed by gift giving and gift receiving. Through her work she shows us how to return to mothering—to nurturing one another and thereby fulfill our human potential.”

Darcia Narvaez,
Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame and author of Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom

“This book is not only an important contribution to a reconsideration of the role of the maternal for life, whether in the private sphere or the public sphere, the social: it is also a fundamentally important contribution to linguistics (consider the space dedicated to scholars in the sector), to philosophy of language (an analogous space is dedicated to scholars in this area as well), and to the language sciences in general, socio-linguistics and psycho-linguistics included (see, for example, the attention focused on studies on the relationship between thought and language by Lev Vygotsky).”

“If we wish to say what this book is in synthesis, what this book deals with, we could even say that it is a critique of political economy in a Marxian sense, but a critique founded on the gift economy and in the last analysis on the maternal gift of language.”

(see full article)

Susan Petrilli
Professor of philosophy and theory of languages at the Aldo Moro University of Bari, Italy, author of many books, including Expression and Interpretation in Language and The Self as a Sign, the World, and the Other.

“Vaughan reveals the extent to which theories of the gift and economics have failed to consider the obvious: maternal giving…Key to understanding the maternal gift economy is in how it has been hidden, distorted, and exploited by the exchange economy and patriarchal capitalism. Our mothers gave birth to our bodies and lives and gifted us with early and on-going mother-care (gift-work). This simple fact can be so amazingly ignored that we miss our physical and philosophical ‘foundations’.”

Review article in the JMI Journal of the Motherhood Initiative (Vol.7, No 1 (2016))

Nané Jordan PhD
Canadian midwifery activist and writer is developing a cosmology of ‘sacred economy’ rooted in placental morphology and its dialogue of blood” (Metaformia).

“Although the ideas of “the Gift” and the “Gift Economy” are discussed and practiced by a wide variety of people these days—in and out of the academy—only Genevieve Vaughan has brought to the center of the discourse the concept of mothering as the original gift and prototype for all others.”

Vicki Noble
Feminist shamanic healer, author of Shakti Woman: Feeling Our Fire, Healing Our World (1991), The Double Goddess: Women Sharing Power by Vicki Noble (2003) and many other volumes.

“This new book deserves to be required reading in educational circles, foremost in gender studies, as her theories move beyond the second and third waves of feminism to create a wave of its own—beyond performative gender, the misnomer called “essentialism” and the disastrous impact of postmodern and neoliberal feminism.”

(See entire review)

Kaarina Kailo, ph.D, Asst.professor
Dosentti, kaupunginvaltuutettu Oulu
Vanhatie 35, 90940 JÄÄLI, FINLAND

“Much of the work feminist philosophers have dealt with is about language focused on sexist terminology and eventually they have succeeded in changing terms to permit women’s abilities in all fields to be respected. What Vaughan deals with is the nature of language itself, asserting that it is based on gifting/ mothering/ being mothered; that language is the giving and receiving of verbal gifts in abundance, and gifting constitutes being human and human relations…This book can be likened to a treasure island as it offers an endless source, with its vast collection of literature and references.”

Pilwha Chang
Review in Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 2016, Vol. 22, No. 1

CHANG Pilwha is Professor of Department of Women’s Studies, College of Social Sciences, Ewha Womans University. She served as Chairperson of the Women’s Studies department, Korean Women’s Institute, and Dean of Graduate School of Ewha Womans University. She also served as President of the Korean Association of Women’s Studies, Convenor of 9th IICW (WW05) in 2005, and President of the Asian Association of Women’s Studies. Currently, she is the Director of the Asian Center for Women’s Studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea.