Food exchanges often produce excesses of meaning, and those excesses can be spaces for maintaining or renegotiating social relationships. The Jewish festival of Purim enacts symbolic inversions of everyday cultural practices that produce excesses of food and food exchanges that symbolically threaten religious, social, and interpersonal social categories. Building on theories of gift exchange, from Marcel Mauss to Annette Weiner, I explore the limits and capacities of reciprocity to negotiate social relationships.
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Copyright 2001 The American Folklore Society