Marcel Mauss is an influential figure in the history of anthropology, largely due to his theory of Reciprocity. He also wrote several studies on a variety of topics, including sacrifice, the body, the person, magic, and with his mentor Emile Durkheim, a study of symbolic classification. In all of his work, one sees the imprint of Durkheimian sociology. Mauss was one of the key members of L'Annee Sociologique, a group of scholars associated with the journal of the same name founded by Durkheim. For this group, Durkheim's framework meant that literally everything in any society could be studied and understood in objective terms. Moreover they argued that all societies, no matter how different, possessed a common essence. Every society is a total system, and the elements of social life fit together in one of a few different ways. In Mauss's writing one can sense the zeal with which he attempts to tear away the illusions created by looking at the world from the perspective of the individual.
Fournier, Marcel. 2005. Marcel Mauss: A Biography. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.