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Knowledge production and the politics of positionality in globalized and neoliberalized times

Graeme MacRae

This theme section seeks to keep alive important debates about the place of anthropology in the world that have been raised periodically since the 1970s, and most recently in a special issue of this journal entitled “Changing Flows in Anthropological Knowledge” (Buchowski and Dominguez 2012). The three articles in this theme section consider the place of anthropology in the university system, the building of a world anthropology, and the methodological challenges of the new conditions in which we work. All three critically address the interface and relationship between areas of changing power/knowledge and their relevance to the future of anthropology: both its place in the world and its contribution to the world.

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Forgotten moralities of agrarian economy in Bali

Production and exchange, business and friendship

Graeme MacRae

The provisioning of human societies is widely understood in terms of technological, ecological, and economic processes. It is also, somewhat less widely, recognized as a social and cultural process, but rarely as a moral one. As the concept of “moral economy,” which drew attention to the moral embedment of agrarian economies, has faded from view in the analysis of radically changing agrarian landscapes, the moral dimensions of agrarian economies have progressively become obscured. This article summarizes recent transformations of the moral economy of rice in Bali and discusses a project of economic development in which the project’s moral dimensions were revealed only in its failure.