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Gendering reciprocity: solving a puzzle of nonreciprocation

Ashwin, Sarah ORCID: 0000-0002-5258-3119, Tartakovskaya, Irina, Ilyina, Marina and Lytkina, Tatyana (2013) Gendering reciprocity: solving a puzzle of nonreciprocation. Gender and Society, 27 (3). pp. 396-421. ISSN 0891-2432

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0891243213479444


Theories of reciprocity have been surprisingly gender-blind. We develop a gendered account of reciprocity using qualitative data from Russia. We focus on gifts of unpaid task assistance, where gender differences are particularly visible. In our data, women’s gifts of labor involve greater time and effort than men’s, but women report nonreciprocation, while men do not. Paradoxically, the most onerous gifts are those least likely to be reciprocated. We show how this puzzling finding relates to the gendering of reciprocity. We define four stages of the gift cycle—giving, (non)recognition, (non)reciprocation, and givers’ responses to (non)reciprocation—detailing how each is gendered. We argue that reciprocity is a socially embedded phenomenon that cannot be considered in isolation from gender norms. This insight has implications for research employing reciprocity as a framework, and for debates in relation to issues such as care work and family relations.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 21 May 2013 08:36
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:36
Projects: 97-20280
Funders: INTAS grant, LSE Research Committee Seed Fund

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