International Research Workshop: The Moral Dimensions of Economic Life in Africa
Global South Studies Center, University of Cologne (November 8-9, 2018)
co-funded by: Thyssen Foundation (Germany), University of Cologne (Global South Study Centre), and University of Leeds (POLIS).
For decades, mainstream economic analysis has tended to exclude morality from the investigation and understanding of economic life. Yet in reality there are always various moral dimensions at play when it comes to people’s economic thinking, practices and relationships, on one hand, and the structures in which they operate, on the other.
In this workshop – organised by Tijo Salverda (Cologne), Cristiano Lanzano (Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala), and Jörg Wiegratz (Leeds) – we will look more closely at this morality-economy nexus, with a particular focus on Africa. Due to their economic and socio-cultural diversity and complexity, African countries are privileged sites to discuss the moral dimensions of economic life. Many economies on the continent are characterised by substantial interventions by donors and other foreign actors, a powerful presence of multinationals, rapid and turbulent change, a range of difficulties in achieving structural transformation, and, finally, GDP growth alongside rising inequalities across classes and locations. Related public debates are flourishing; for example, about the impact of global connections and new technologies, climate change, the rise of a new middle class, foreign economic dominance, the reality and prospect of sovereignty, or the distinctiveness and future of ‘Africapitalism’. Against this intriguing background, our group of 20 researchers from across the globe will gather to discuss one of the most topical issue of our time: the state of morality in today’s world, all with a focus on Africa. This workshop is the second one on the theme, following on from a successful event in Uppsala in June this year (co-sponsored by the Nordic Africa Institute and the Review of African Political Economy).
A further workshop on the moral dimensions of economic life with a regional focus on Eastern Europe, Russia and Eurasia will take place on 20-22 March, 2019 at St Antony’s College, Oxford (sponsored by POLIS, Leeds and Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre, Oxford). This workshop – organised by Nicolette Makovicky (Oxford), Dimitra Kofti (Athens) and Jörg Wiegratz (Leeds) – will culminate with a day for cross-regional debate of the morality-economy nexus in global capitalism, bringing together scholars across conventional Area Studies divides.