Prof. Ilana Friedrich Silber

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03 7384037
Reception Hours
Monday 14:00-15:00 & Wednesday 16:00-17:00 by appointment by email

Ilana F. Silber is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Her major fields of interest are sociological theory and the sociology of gift-giving and philanthropy to which she also brings a cross cutting engagement with comparative historical and interpretative cultural analysis.

Current research projects explore cultural and institutional aspects of elite philanthropy (internationally in addition to a specific interest in the Israeli context), and changing patterns of charity and philanthropy in past and present contexts.          

She has studied Sociology and Psychology and did her Ph.D. in Sociology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was a visiting fellow at Harvard University, Princeton University and Yale University, is Faculty Fellow of the Center for Cultural Sociology since 2014, Research Associate of the Center for Generosity since 2017, and a member of the M.A.U.S.S (Mouvement Anti-Utilitariste dans les Sciences Sociales) since 1998.

She is generally engaged in furthering dialogue between various branches of the human sciences (history, cultural studies, religion in particular), as well as between alternative branches of sociological theory and gift theory. She has conducted empirical research on elite philanthropy in Israel, writtten on the history of the nonprofit sector in Israel, and supervised several Phd dissertations on various facets of the philanthropic sector in Israel.

Research fields


  • Sociological Theory
  • Sociology of Gift-Relationships
  • Sociology of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations
  • Sociology of Culture
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Comparative Historical Sociology

:Selected Publications

Silber, I. F. Forthcoming "The Gift as 'Deep Play': A "Note" on Performance and Paradox in the Theatrics of Public Giving," in I. Hentschel ed. Theater as Exchange and Gift: Theoretical Prospects. Berlin: Transcript Verlag, 2018

Silber, I.F. 2018 "Ponts dialogiques et alliances anti-utilitaristes," ("Dialogical Bridges and Anti-Utilitarian Alliances) in A. Caillé, P. Chanial, S. Dufoix and F. Vandenberghe eds. Des sciences sociales à la science sociale globalisée: Fondements anti-utilitaristes. Paris: Aube.

Silber, I. F. 2016 "The Cultural Worth of Economies of Worth: French Pragmatic Sociology from a Cultural Sociological Perspective," in D. Inglis and A. Amila (ed.) The Sage Handbook of Cultural Sociology. London: Sage.

Silber, I. F. 2014 “Boltanski and the Gift: Beyond Love, Beyond Suspicion...?” in Simon Susen and Bryan Turner ed. The Spirit of Luc Boltanski: Essays in the "Pragmatic Sociology of Critique." London, New York: Anthem Press.

Silber, I. F. 2012 “The Angry Gift: A Neglected Facet of Philanthropy," Current Sociology 60, 3: 317-334. Republished in abridged, version in  B. Breeze and M. Moody eds. The Philanthropy Reader. London: Routledge, 2017.

Silber, I.F. 2011 "Deciphering Transcendence and the Open Code of Modernity: S.N. Eisenstadt's Comparative Hermeneutics of Civilizations,” Journal of Classical Sociology 3: 269-280.

Silber, I.F. 2010 “Mauss, Weber et les trajectoires historiques du don,” Revue du M.A.U.S.S. 36: 539-561.

Silber, I.F. 2009 "Bourdieu’s Gift to Gift Theory: An Unacknowledged Trajectory," Sociological Theory 27, 2: 173-190.