Coleman, “On Mauss, masks, and gifts: Christianities, (in-)dividualities, modernities”

Coleman, Simon. On Mauss, masks, and gifts: Christianities, (in-)dividualities, modernities. Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 5(1), 2015

I juxtapose discussions of dividuality and individuality with an exploration of Maussian ideas relating to gifts, masks, and persons, using my analysis as a framework to examine controversies surrounding the actions of Prosperity (“Health and Wealth”) Christians in Sweden. The article argues that multiple and competing notions of personhood are evident in the case examined. More generally, it claims that a “Prosperity Ethic” can be discerned, which both indicates the transactional character of person-formation and challenges certain normative Protestant ideals of a dematerialized modern subject. This argument indicates the advantages and pitfalls of deploying notions of dividual and individual in a Western context.