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Multiscalar moral economy

Global agribusiness, rural Zambian residents, and the distributed crowd

Tijo Salverda

Beginning with Edward P. Thompson's (1971 , 1991) and James C. Scott's (1976 , 2000) seminal contributions, the moral economy concept has traveled in various directions. For Thompson and Scott, as well as in recent contributions (e

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The moral economy of militarism

Peasant economy, military state and Chinese capitalism in the Wa State of Myanmar

Hans Steinmüller

If the moral economies of underprivileged communities are defined in opposition to the rationality of political economy, it is easy to overlook the moral justifications of market and state. War economies and military states, however, force us to look at the nodes of moral and economic action that connect the powerful and the powerless. The Wa State of Myanmar, a de‐facto state governed by an insurgent army, represents the making of such a moral economy of militarism. Examples from the peasant economy, the military state and Chinese capitalism demonstrate the articulation of different work ethics, moral frameworks and economic arrangements. Moral and economic values are combined specifically in codes of honour, military discipline and , that is, the value entanglements that are at the core of the moral economy of militarism.

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Agroecology and Radical Grassroots Movements' Evolving Moral Economies

David Meek

I focus on the role of agroecology in rural proletarian social movements in this article. First, I highlight these movements' conception of agroecology as an important element of their political ideology. Second, I explore the value of agroecology in helping maintain the permanence of the peasantry. Third, I show that rural proletarian movements emphasize agroecology because it is key to attaining sovereignty. I draw upon the geographic lenses of territory, the production of space, and autonomous geographies in positing these arguments. Throughout the article, I draw upon a case study of the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement, one of the most vocal agroecological social movements, to illustrate these arguments.

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The Moral Economy of Digital Gifts

Dave Elder-Vass

The significance of giving as a contemporary socio-economic practice has been obscured both by mainstream economics and by the influence of the anthropological tradition. Andrew Sayer’s concept of moral economy offers a more fruitful framework for an economic sociology of contemporary giving, and one that appears to be largely consistent with social quality approaches. This article analyzes giving from the perspective of moral economy, questioning the view that giving is a form of exchange, and opening up the prospect of seeing it as the outcome of a more complex constellation of causal factors. It uses examples from the digital economy, in particular the phenomenon of open-source software, which nicely illustrates both the progressive potential of digital gifts and the ways in which they can be absorbed into the commercial economy.

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“Make a Living by Doing Good”

The Moral Economy of Infant Formulas among Chinese Migrant Women in France

Yong Li

by conceptualizing their endeavor as a moral economy. My central argument is threefold: (1) Moralities infuse every aspect of the e-commerce of infant formula between France and China; (2) this moral economy of milk is constructed by migrant women

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Forgotten moralities of agrarian economy in Bali

Production and exchange, business and friendship

Graeme MacRae

this work was political-economic, much of it directly Marxist in inspiration. In reaction, James Scott (1977) , borrowing (from E. P. Thompson) the concept of “moral economy,” sought to provide a counterbalancing cultural dimension. While Thompson

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Between Conflicting Systems

An Ordinary Tragedy in Now-Capitalist Albania

Matthew Rosen

intact through the tragedy – than I would have gleaned from asking one hundred more prepared questions. Moral Economies AK opened his story by grounding it in ‘the moral economy’ ( Thompson 1971 , 1991 ; see also Fassin 2009 ; Palomera and

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Up in smoke?

The making and unmaking of a rural moral economy

Sara Keene

This paper draws on the work of E. P. Thompson to understand anticapitalist resistance in northern California in the 1960s and 1970s. Through an analysis of the back-to-the-land movement in a region I call “Claytown,” I show how the making of a rural moral economy was in part enabled by the presence of a nascent marijuana industry. However, whereas a relatively small-scale marijuana industry helped forge anticapitalist resistance in the 1960s and 1970s, this industry has become a form through which values of capitalist political economy are being instantiated and reasserted. I situate my ethnographic analysis within a broader historical and legal framework to show how a contemporary moral economy is made and increasingly unmade in the context of late capitalism.

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The booming global market of contemporary art

Thomas Fillitz

The present economic and financial crises do not seem to particularly influence the global art market of contemporary art. In an attempt to understand this apparent opposition, I adopt a macro perspective, combining my own research ventures in Dakar and Vienna with general art market studies. I argue that this market is a special representation of millennial capitalism (Comaroff and Comaroff 2001). The global art market puts in place an organization of diversity that allows a high flexibility in including specific centers and marginalizing others, as well as a special focus on a globally acting group of “ultra high net worth” individuals. Striking features are the concentration of capital flows to a few major centers, the constitution of complex, transnational networks, the dominant logics for each market field (gambling, glamour, moral economy), and the diversification of the commodity character of the work of art.

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The Intimate Uncertainties of Kidney Care

Moral Economy and Treatment Regimes in Comparative Perspective

Ciara Kierans

Today the social and material situations of sick bodies are increasingly and intimately bound up with the variable moral economies of national healthcare systems in uncertain and contrastive ways. I approach these ‘intimate uncertainties’ comparatively and methodologically by drawing on ethnographic fieldwork on transplant medicine in Mexico in order to interrogate European healthcare, specifically the UK. The UK National Health Service is an exemplary site of moral economy, one that the Mexican case appears to stand in stark contrast to. However, as I show, the uncertainties we see at work in Mexico enable us to seek them out in the UK too, particularly those generated at the nexus of the state, failing organs and new strategies for healthcare rationing. The article traces the gendered and socioeconomic inequalities, which follow from these shifts, while offering a critique of analyses that take the European and North American experience as methodologically foundational.