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Marcel Mauss, a gift to the social sciences


Marcel Mauss (May 10, 1872—Feb. 10, 1950), celebrated author of The Gift and nephew of Émile Durkheim, was a French sociologist and anthropologist whose contributions include a highly original comparative study of the relation between forms of exchange and social structure. His views on the theory and method of ethnology are thought to have influenced many eminent social scientists.

In the spirit of his birthday, we are delighted to present volumes from the Publications of the Durkheim Press series, with special attention to The Nature of Sociology and Techniques, Technology, and Civilization. New in paperback, these volumes offer students an ideal introduction to Mauss’s writings and theories.

As a gift to you, all Publications of the Durkheim Press volumes are discounted 25% off with discount code GIFT20 (valid from 5/11/20 to 5/24/20).


Marcel Mauss
Translated by William Jeffrey
Introduction by Mike Gane

Having taken over the leadership of the French school of sociology after the death of his uncle, Émile Durkheim, in 1917, Mauss, celebrated author of The Gift, re-launched the flagship journal, the Année sociologique. Here are two of Mauss’s most significant statements on the social sciences. The first, written with Fauconnet, outlines the methodological orientations of the school. The second examines the internal organization of sociology as a division of intellectual labor. The essays are of interest to anthropologists as well as sociologists for Mauss, like Durkheim, did not distinguish in detail the two disciplines.



Marcel Mauss
Edited and with an Introduction by Nathan Schlanger
Published in Association with the Durkheim Press

“It seems that Mauss’s fame has grown in inverse proportion to knowledge of his actual writings. It should therefore be a matter of celebration that his occasional writings on techniques and technology have been published in English…when we look more closely at what Mauss did and did not do, his iconic status may be somewhat tarnished. But his general example still has the power to inspire, and maybe that is what counts.” · JRAI



Marcel Mauss
Translated by Dominique Lussier
Edited and Introduced by N. J. Allen
Published in Association with Durkheim Press

“In the wake of considerable recent biographical attention to Marcel Mauss in English-language publications, it is fitting that works by him still available only in French appear in translation. The Manual of Ethnography has been expertly translated by Dominique Lussier, and appropriately edited and introduced by N. J. Allen. This historically important document, … reflects the youthful moment of modern anthropology when the questions and subjects of this discipline came to depend on rigorous collection of material from field research… an important historical document in the context of Mauss’s teaching of anthropology and in the originary hopes for ethnography. Highly recommended.” · George Marcus in Choice



Text and Commentary
Marcel Mauss
Edited and with an introduction by W. S. F. Pickering
Published in Association with Durkheim Press

“This study should have been his doctoral dissertation that he never finished…Its English version clearly shows that we are dealing with an important text on a topic that is curiously little explored by anthropologists.” · Revue philosophique

“There is much of interest in this well-presented volume. Mauss’s careful discussion of differences among types of oral rites – incantations, spells, invocations – remains instructive.” · Social Anthropology


Of related interest: 

A Centenary Tribute
Edited by Wendy James and N. J. Allen

“Each of the essays in this volume deals with various facets of his work, and all of them should be read.” · American Anthropologist

“This book offers a unique insight into the influence of one of the discipline’s most important theorists. James and Allen are thoughtful editors … their respect produces the best form of criticism in fourteen essays by British, and other European, anthropologists … This is intriguing and stimulating reading … Mauss’s work receives careful attention in this book which is helpful, incisive, and broadly significant to anthropology.” · JRAI

Berghahn Journals

Full access until June 30*

DURKHEIMIAN STUDIES Études Durkheimiennes

Georges Dumas et Marcel Mauss: Rapports réels et pratiques entre la psychologie et la sociologie Marcia Consolim (Vol. 24)

‘Rates of Exchange’ Rather than Intellectual Exchanges: An Unknown Correspondence between Marcel Mauss and Victor Branford (1923–24) about the Franco-British Relationship in Interwar Sociology Baudry Rocquin (Vol. 24)

Durkheim’s Effervescence and Its Maussian Afterlife in Medical Anthropology Elisabeth Hsu (Vol. 23)

From India to Australia and Back Again: An Alternative Genealogy of The Elementary Forms of Religious Life Sondra L. Hausner (Vol. 23)

Internal Critique of the ‘Legend of Abraham’ Marcel Mauss (Vol. 22)

Marcel Mauss’s ‘Internal Critique of the “Legend of Abraham”’ Adeel Hamza and John Gannon (Vol. 22)

Les archives de Marcel Mauss ont-elles une spécificité?: Le cas de la collaboration de Marcel Mauss et Henri Hubert Jean-François Bert (Vol. 16)

Personal Recollections of Durkheim, Mauss, the Family and Others Claudette Kennedy, W. S. F. Pickering and Nick Allen (Vol. 16)

Jeu et sport chez Durkheim et le groupe de L’Année sociologique Jean-Paul Callède (Vol. 14)

Mauss et la sociologie française de la nation Ana-Luana Stoicea-Deram (Vol. 12)

*To help you overcome the challenges many of you are facing in teaching and researching outside of your universities, we have made all Berghahn journals available to access until June 30. View full COVID-19 updates