Payments and social ties

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124 Scopus citations


Monetary payments fall into three categories: gift, entitlement, and compensation. Each one corresponds to a significantly different set of social relations and systems of meanings. People making payments use a number of earmarking techniques to distinguish those categories of social relations and meanings from each other, impose substantial controls over the proper uses of money received within each category, and attach great importance to the distinctions involved, thus creating partly separate currencies even when the medium involved is legal tender. In the United States, bureaucratization, commercialization, and monetization significantly altered the scope, form, and content of monetary gifts, entitlements, and compensation, but did not reduce the importance of such earmarking and control. Investigation of (1) bonuses in commercial firms and (2) sexual payments illustrate the significance of these principles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-495
Number of pages15
JournalSociological Forum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Money
  • Payments
  • Social ties


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