Gift-Giving Among Gay Men: The Reification of Social Relations
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SUMMARY. Previous work on gift-giving has shown the economic and social importance of this activity, ways in which it may reflect social relations, and characteristics of good and bad gift exchanges. This study examined gay gift-giving experiences to detennine whether some of the propositions based almost exclusively on heterosexual data needed reinterpretation to be relevant to the homosexual community. It was found that, compared to previous research on gift-giving between heterosexual partners, gay males devoted more attention to selection or creation of gifts and they were also more concerned about the recipient's appreciation and utilization of the gift. On the other hand, they were less concerned with economic equity in the exchange process. These fmdings have implications for products offered as gifts as well as gift promotions that would be most suitable for this market. [Article copies available from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1~()()-342-9678.J


As noted by Belk and Coon (1993) in their proposal of a new paradigm of gift-giving, economic exchange and social exchange models have been guiding work on gift-giving for over 50 years now. As a result, there is emerging a progressively clearer picture of both the economic and social effects of gifts and linkages between the two. As discussed below, while gift-giving is typically thought of in tenns of positive effects, negative effects can occur as well.