Accepted paper:

Panapayattu as money gift: understanding a complex gift practice in South Asia


Sasi Kumar (Jawahar Lal Nehru University)

Paper short abstract:

Panapayattu is a system of cooperative network in which each one of them engaged in indebted to others through the gift of money. What is it? Its ethnographical exploration of what seems to be having thought of as pure money exchange.

Paper long abstract:

For Mauss gift practices (The Gift, 1925) give , take and return is essentially represents a pre-modern social relations. In a different way every pre-modern relations are somewhat social and based on the reciprocal one also. For others though gift practices represents pre-modern social relations, competition is its essential characteristic (Bourdieu : 1998) In this particular context it is important to understand what is Panapayaattu? Though it can be defined as a system or a network of relations exists among the people of a particular part of Malabar (South Asia) by their money use or exchange. Money and Capital for Max was an ensemble of social relations and not otherwise. The neat differentiation or formulation between gift and commodity identified by Gregory (Gregory : 1982) without having much thought on what Marx said about money and capital. How do we understand money in Panapayattu? Is it only a money exchange or why should I call it gift practice? Money still haunt us as gift and commodity (Greaber : 2011). Was cultural context makes such exchange differ from commodity exchange (Bloch and Parry :1986). Debt exist between gift and commodity exchange and panapayattu bring in many complexities of how we understand a gift practice exist in South Asia.

panel P046
Give and take: gift exchange in South Asia