3. In this sense, texts seem to function much as objects in circulations such as gift exchange, as in Mauss’s description of gifts as “parts of persons” that extend social subjectivities into networks of exchange (1954:11). Annette Weiner (1985) has pointed out the importance of bringing past, present, and future ‘owners’ and travels together in the circulating object—a point of particular importance in academic texts that simultaneously point ‘backward’ to intellectual legacies and ‘forward’ to future uptake. It might also be productive to consider texts as especially agentive extensions of persons. Perhaps in treating texts—and thingy text artifacts such as books—as persons or as parts of persons, we are emphasizing the quality of “distributed agency” that Alfred Gell (1998) describes as adhering in non-textual objects.
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