Accepted Paper:

Grant: a form of (the) gift in the consumer society  


Ileana Sadean (National School of Political Science and Public Administration - Bucharest)

Paper short abstract:

grant, gift, consumerism, solidariry, rural development

Paper long abstract:

The paper analyses from an anthropolgical perspective the culture of grant, having as starting point the study of the implementation of the Leader rural development model in Romania. During the research I reached the hypothesis that grantnuances more than the Leader philosophy itself the vision of current societies upon development and wealth. More than an economic mechanism, than a complete series of bureaucratic reglementations, than financial flows, it brings to sight ways of thinking and action, as well as the most intimate identitary traits of the rural communities. The question I intend to respond is whether the phenomenon of grant has a stronger impact than the Leader principles upon the identitary dinamics of the rural areas, upon behaviors and attitudes towards problem solving, upon establishing real consumer needs etc.? Not the "philosophy" of the Leader model gets to be interiorised by the rural communities, but a way of "problem solving", of improving their life through "non-reimbursable" financing.

Finally I reached the conclusion that grant financing is in the process of being institutionalised and is closely related to the characteristics of the consumer society. To grant corresponds a consumer society and vice versa. Apparently, grant has no connection with the gift performed in the primitive communities. As a form of commerce it behaves as the merchandise from the comparison "gift" and "merchandise", meaning it is a gift that encourages consumerism.

Panel P48
Gifts and their circulation in a market-based economy