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Perspectives on Moral Economy

Date: August 2005

Conference Participants
Conference Participants

All economies are moral economies, in the sense that all economic relations and practices have moral/ethical preconditions and implications. 'Moral economy' might be defined as a kind of inquiry focussing on how economic activities of all kinds are influenced, structured and legitimized by moral sentiments, values and norms, and how in turn those are reinforced, compromised, or overridden by political economic pressures.

How are economic practices influenced and structured by moral or moral-political norms? How do economic pressures and political economic power affect those norms? How defensible are such norms? How do economic institutions define responsibilities for or towards others? How do economic practices shape life prospects? The focus will be not only on achieving a better understanding of such institutions and practices but on feasible and desirable possibilities for change. Such a study might range from the philosophical, for example, concerning concepts of value and flourishing, to the practical, for example the specific rights and responsibilities associated with particular economic practices. The conference will be postdisciplinary, bringing together researchers with interests in these matters from politics, sociology, philosophy, economics, human geography and allied areas.

The aims of the conference are:

  • To further understanding of moral economy;
  • To broaden and deepen the critical standpoints from which economic activities can be assessed, thereby helping in the search for alternatives;
  • To bridge the divide between those who work on political economic studies of practice and policy and theorists and philosophers who work on the normative bases of economic life.

Plenary Speakers:

  1. Robert Boyer
  2. Erik Olin Wright
  3. Sylvia Walby

Discussion paper on moral economy.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Andrew Sayer

Organising departments and research centres: Sociology


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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