Indigenous and Moral Economies

Export cash cropping and marketplace trading are economic activities familiar throughout the developing world. But the way people produce, transact, arrange and remunerate labour, distribute, accumulate, possess, and consume, are shaped by the different socio-cultural contexts in which they occur. This means, for example, the structure and dynamics of food markets and coffee production in Papua New Guinea are not identical to their counterparts in, say, Peru. The Pacific Livelihoods Research Group explores the socio-cultural dynamics of economic activity in the Pacific region. It examines the way introduced economic forms, such as trade stores, marketplaces and oil palm production, have both contributed to social change but have also been reimagined and remade in different places. The focus of our research includes:

  • The diverse motivations and challenges faced by small businesses such as in trade stores and trucking enterprises
  • The organisation, remuneration, and valuing of labour in cash cropping, subsistence gardening and market trading
  • People’s access to land for export cash cropping and subsistence gardening
  • The interaction between cultural obligations and market participation
  • The gendered dimensions of economic activities
  • Trade networks and trading practices in marketplaces, and the moral value placed on transactions

Further reading:

(2016). Sharp, T.   Trade’s value: Relational transactions in the Papua New Guinea betel nut trade. Oceania 86(1), pp 75-91.

(2012).  Curry, G.N., and Koczberski, G. Relational economies, social embeddedness and valuing labour in agrarian change: An example from the developing world. Geographical Research 50, pp 377-392.

(2009). Curry, G. N., and Koczberski, G.  Finding common ground: Relational concepts of land tenure and economy in the oil palm frontier of Papua New Guinea. The Geographical Journal 175(2), pp 98-112.

(2005). Curry, G. N. Doing ‘business’ in Papua New Guinea: The social embeddedness of small business enterprises. Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship 18(2), pp 231-236.

(2003). Curry, G. N.  Moving beyond postdevelopment: Facilitating indigenous alternatives for “Development”.  Economic Geography 79(4), pp 405-423.

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