The Gift in the Heart of Language
The Maternal Source of Meaning
Genevieve Vaughan offers a paradigm-shifting view of the structure of material and verbal communication, based on 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 orientation with reason to liberate us from biopathic patriarchal conceptions of humanity.Sketched against this background Vaughan introduces a conception of monetized exchange as a giftdenying and expropriating psychological mechanism, which is an unintended collective by product of verbal communication. Thisview stands as a warning against visions of the future in which the institutions of money and the market can be “fixed”to be more caring, and sanitized business as usual can halt the destruction of Mother Earth. Rather a gift economy, which takes as its model the mother-child interaction, the gifting in language and the gifting in mother-centered societies provideshope for a positive future.