This panel examines how 'the moral' and 'the economic' are produced through everyday practices as separate spheres of action and thought by bringing together papers that examine the connections between moral values, consumption practices and economic exchange in the marketplace.
This panel will explore the relationship between morality, consumption and economic exchange. Anthropology has long recognised that moral values are not 'timeless' or 'natural' entities, but locally contingent and historically produced systems of thought and action that are not isolable from practical concerns. Yet the illusion of a discrete moral domain separate from economic interests continues to inform conceptions of virtue, morality and hospitality in different societies. In recent times, anthropologists have used hospitality as a site to not only question the arbitrariness of the boundaries between the moral and economic domain, but also their inter-connectedness. Little work, however, has been conducted that has explored these connections and disconnections through the lens of morality and virtue. How is this division - between morality, on the one hand, and economic exchange, on the other - produced and reproduced through everyday practices at home and in the marketplace? How are systems of morality and virtue connected with systems of exchange, particularly in contexts (such as smuggling, border trade, informal or unregulated industries) where there are no 'formal' rules in the marketplace. This panel thus aims to tease out the different ways in which the 'moral' and 'economic' domains are at once interlinked and dependent on each other, but are also able to perpetuate themselves as discrete and separate spheres of action.