Maternal Gift Economy: Breaking Through -
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Salon #48 - The Gift of the Truth in a World of Lies

June 24, 2023

Featuring Genevieve Vaughan

There are many off-shoots and look-alikes of unilateral giving to satisfy needs. One of these is telling the truth. In fact, the truth is an other-oriented gift that satisfies the need of the listener to know, while telling a lie follows the ego centric pattern of exchange where the information is given not to satisfy the need of the receiver but to satisfy the (usually hidden) need or desire of the speaker/giver. In our neoliberal patriarchal society, where exchange logic has been embraced at the expense of the logic of the gift there seem to be few clear gift spaces where the truth can be told to audiences who can receive truthful communications. Truth tellers like Julian Assange are persecuted and made to pay.

Knowledge about products is gained through distorted advertising, which is paid for by the buyer in the price of the product. Politicians lie, their messages are crafted by paid advisors and their decisions are increasingly being bought by corporations. The news is filtered and spun in order to manipulate public opinion. Lies or partial lies masquerade as gifts of the truth. The atmosphere of society is polluted by lies in the same way that the atmosphere of the Earth is polluted by carbon monoxide. Seeking the truth and speaking the truth are the way out of both kinds of pollution.

Genevieve Vaughan is an independent researcher who lives part time in Italy and part in Texas. She created the multicultural all-woman activist Foundation for a Compassionate Society (1987-2005) and the Temple of Sekhmet in the Nevada desert (1992 – ongoing) and she co-created the network: International Feminists for a Gift Economy (2001 – ongoing). Her books are For-Giving, a Feminist Criticism of Exchange (1997), Homo Donans (2006) and The Gift in the Heart of Language: the Maternal Source of Meaning (2015). She has edited Il Dono/The Gift (2004), Women and the Gift Economy (2007) and The Maternal Roots of the Gift Economy (2019). A volume of the Canadian Women’s Studies Journal dedicated to the maternal gift economy has just appeared (2020). More information @

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