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Give and Take

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Give and Take explores the complex nature of gift giving for humans and their close animal relatives.
The film brings biology, psychology, political studies, philosophy and theology into dialogue. Interviewees include Cambridge’s Professor Claire Hughes (Psychology), Professor Nicky Clayton (Psychology) and Dr Andrew Davison (Theology and Natural Sciences).

Giving figures prominently in many animal societies and is part of our evolutionary heritage. In traditional human “gift economies”, giving is marked by reciprocity, and some anthropologists have highlighted this as a more organic, relational model of society. Reciprocity seems more clearly geared towards forging bonds of mutual commitment than purely altruistic giving.

Yet things may be more complicated than they appear. In reciprocal exchange, those who cannot afford to return gifts may end up excluded. Nevertheless, why does popular culture, but also religious and philosophical traditions, often single out altruism as an ideal? Is one particular kind of giving truly preferable to another? This film explores these questions and more.

Presented by Jessica Scott (Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge)

Produced by Dr Alexander Massmann and DragonLight Films
Category
Academic
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