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The Disposition Of The Gift And Many Unhappy Returns

Journal of Retailing

John F. Sherry, Mary Ann McGrath, Sidney J. Levy


The symbolic exchange value of the gift is amenable to investigation via ethnographic methods and projective techniques. In this paper, the topic of gift disposition, which arose from a comparative ethnographic study of two midwestern American gift stores, is refined and elaborated through projective analysis. Attitudes and behaviors related to the dis­position of the gift are difficult to elicit directly through observation or structured interview. Through the use of a modified thematic appercep­tion test and other projective techniques a more balanced and compre­hensive account of the gift disposition and gift return emerges.


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