Past Events

Workshop "Markets and Morals: New Perspectives on Moral Economy in the Modern World", 4-5 October 2018

The workshop, organized by Laura Rischbieter (University of Konstanz) and Frank Trentmann (Birkbeck University of London), will explore the moral dynamics of economic life in the modern world. “Moral economy” was a key concept that rose to fame with E. P. Thompson’s seminal study of food riots in the period before the Industrial Revolution. For all its insights, Thompson’s narrow view of the concept also limited its usefulness. Modern capitalism did not automatically result in a “demoralisation” of economic life, nor were rebellious action from below against markets the only fields of moral action. This does not mean, however, that the concept of “moral economy” should be buried. Rather, we need a more open-minded appreciation of the workings of moral noms and actions in economic life. The aim of this workshop is to breathe new life into the concept of “moral economy” by looking at its many manifestations in modern and contemporary societies. Recent anthropologists and sociologists have shown the way with studies of humanitarianism and other subjects. This workshop is an invitation to reflect on the concept and discuss topics and methods for historical research.

The program may be downloaded here.