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Mauss' Gift is a valuable although neglected lens for examining international aid. Having delineated the often misunderstood characteristics of the Gift, the article re-examines development assistance. Whereas the market and welfare state are compatible with the modernity project, the Gift is argued to be incompatible with them whilst still pervasive in human affairs. The article finds that donors downplay the Gift system and yet are dependent upon relationships that only the system of the Giftdoi:10.1080/17486831.2011.595069 fatcat:f3am7qlrmfbaxc2jfjjlhbtsri