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Colonial gifts : family politics and the exchange of goods in British India, c.1780 –1820

By Margot C. Finn


This paper situates Anglo-Indian gifts within a spectrum of\ud emotionally-charged exchange mechanisms through which material\ud objects circulated in British India. At one end of this spectrum was the\ud market, perhaps best exemplified by the public auctions at which the\ud personal possessions of deceased Anglo-Indians were sold to any buyer\ud who could pay the purchase price set at probate. At the other end\ud of the spectrum of exchange were gifts, commissions and bequests,\ud forms of exchange that offered the British colonial elite mechanisms\ud for combating the powerful centrifugal forces that operated within\ud Anglo-Indian families—most notably disease, death and distance

Topics: DS, DA
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2006
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