Economies of Favour after Socialism
19 January 2017, 6:30-8pm
Institute of Advanced Studies, Common Ground, Wilkins Building, UCL, WC1E 6BT
Focusing on favours - and the paradoxes of action, meaning, and significance they engender - this book advocates for the addition of the favour to the list of economic universals alongside other fundamental anthropological categories of economic analysis such as barter, debt, and the gift. It argues that favours do not operate 'outside' or 'beyond' the economic sphere, but rather that they constitute a distinct mode of action which has economic consequences - without being fully explicable in terms of transactional cost-benefit analysis. This volume presents a critical re-interrogation of the conceptual relationships between gratuitous and instrumental behaviour, and raises novel questions about the intersection of economic actions with the ethical and expressive aspects of human life.
Scholars of post-socialist politics and society have often used 'favour' as a by-word for corruption and clientelism. The contributors to this volume treat favours, and the doing of favours, as a distinct mode of acting, rather than as a form of 'masked' economic exchange or simply an expression of goodwill. Casting their comparative net from post-socialist Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe; to the former Soviet Union, Mongolia, and post-Maoist China, the contributors to this volume show how gratuitous behaviour shapes a plethora of different actions, practices, and judgments across religious and political life, imaginative practices, and local moral economies.
Click here for full list of the books contributors and contents.