Troubles with assessments in gifting occasions

2016-03-10T10:15:30Z (GMT) by Jessica Robles
This article analyzes gift-exchange occasions as both a sequentially organized activity and as a ritual practice imbued with social and cultural meaning. Specifically, the article focuses on the role of assessments in gifting sequences, the distribution of assessments across participants, and some of the possible troubles which can arise in doing assessments of gifts based on discourse analysis of 44 gifting situations in one family’s 30 home videos spanning 13 years. I argue that participants encounter difficulties in the process of proffering assessments of gifts, and that such troubles revolve around the dilemma of constructing positive assessments as authentically given. The analysis discusses the organization of action in gifting occasions, outlines the expectations and dilemmas involved in doing assessments of gifts, and presents participants’ discursive practices for managing potential troubles in gift assessment.