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Accepted Paper:

The moral economy of price setting in rose oil industry in Isparta, Turkey  
Lale Yalcin-Heckmann (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology and University of Pardubice)

Paper short abstract:

Rose price and rose oil price are interrelated yet the price setting mechanism is primarily veiled through state patronage, producer protection and world market demand. This paper looks at the negotiations between different actors and various mechanisms of price setting in the rose oil industry.

Paper long abstract:

The province of Isparta in southwest Turkey has been known for its rose oil industry since the end of the 19th century. The specific rose grown in the region, rosa damascene, is used to produce rose oil, rose water and other rose products for the food, perfume and cosmetic industries. The province claims to produce nearly 60% of rose oil needed yearly in the world market and the price of rose oil has been steadily increasing over the last six years. Yet the price of roses does not increase at the same rate, and is set yearly by a former state agricultural cooperative at a base rate, which private firms do not challenge. This paper examines the dynamics of price setting and negotiations between different actors, namely the rose producing households, rose oil producing private firms and the former state cooperative. The world cosmetic industry is also an important actor, yet access to the world market is veiled through market economic language as well as the cooperative 'acting like the state'. Why state patronage still fulfills certain roles for the producers in the neoliberal economy of Turkey and how the private firms manoeuvre between labour shortage for harvesting and producers who successfully bargain for better prices are questions which will be examined ethnographically. The strategies of secrecy and veiling in price setting as well as discourses of protecting producers and tradition reflect and shape the moral economy of good price in the rose oil industry.

Panel P117
Just prices: moral economic legacies and new struggles over value
  Session 1