Boris Knorre 1, Anna Murashova 2
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation
  • 2 National Research University — Higher School of Economics, Myasnitskaya, Srt., 20, Moscow, Russian Federation 101000

Reciprocity “by Blessing”: Debatable Issues of Gift Exchange in The Church Community

2019, vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 186–211 [issue contents]
The article is an attempt to analyze the most significant aspects of gift exchange in the context of the models of economic integration in the Church’s social milieu. The most important points of the discussion are the propositions and mechanisms of gift exchange designated in recent works by G. Yudin, I. Zabaev, the archpriest N. Emelyanov, and some other researchers providing an idea of the opportunity and the special role of the priest in generating gift exchange. We argue that a number of key issues concerning the opportunity for priests to generate gift exchange remains debatable and sensible. To what extent are priests today free from the competition in, engagement with, and from aiming at maximizing resources? What are the modes of personal dependence/independence in the Church’s social milieu? What are the mechanisms for the formation of solidarity, moral duty, and formal and informal obligations between the priest, parishioners, major donators, and non-Church actors? What is the nature of the exchange processes, and how much do they match the criteria of gift exchange so that they can be distinguished from patron-client relations, the hierarchical distribution of resources, or processes launched by bigmen? These and other issues with regard to the Church environment are analyzed in the article using empirical material and the observations illustrating the specifics of social integration and certain options for exchange relations. We are aiming to delineate approximately what the “status quo” is of today’s gift-exchange processes in the Church, their obstacles, and the points of failure and risks. At the same time, we offer our theoretical explanation of these obstacles and the resulting conflicts that arise during the organization of gift exchange in the Church’s social milieu.
Citation: Knorre B., Murashova A. (2019) Retsiproknost' «po blagosloveniyu»: diskussionnye voprosy daroobmena v tserkovnom sotsial'nom prostranstve [Reciprocity “by Blessing”: Debatable Issues of Gift Exchange in The Church Community]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 18, no 4, pp. 186-211 (in Russian)
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