Economies of Favour After Socialism

ISBN : 9780199687411

David Henig; Nicolette Makovicky
256 ページ
156 x 234 mm

Since the onset of the global economic crisis, activists, policy makers, and social scientists have been searching for alternative paradigms through which to re-imagine contemporary modes of thinking and writing about economic orders. These attempts have led to their re-engagement with fundamental anthropological categories of economic analysis, such as barter, debt, and the gift. Focusing on favours, and the paradoxes of action, meaning, and significance they engender, this volume advocates for their addition to this list of economic universals. It 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 judgements across religious and political life, imaginative practices, and local moral economies. They show that favours do not operate 'outside' or 'beyond' the economic sphere. Rather, they constitute a distinct mode of action which has economic consequences, without being fully explicable in terms of transactional cost-benefit analyses.


1 Nicolette Makovicky and David Henig: Introduction: Re-imagining Economies after Socialism: Ethics, Favours, and Moral Sentiments
2 Alena Ledeneva: The Ambivalence of Favour: Paradoxes of Russia's Economy of Favours
3 Caroline Humphrey: A New Look at Favours: The Case of Post-Socialist Higher Education
4 Madeleine Reeves: Giving, Taking, and Getting By: Help and Indifference in Moscow's Temporary Housing Market
5 Katherine Swancutt: The Anti-Favour: Ideasthesia, Aesthetics, and Obligation in Southwest China
6 Chris Hann: The Human Economy of Palinka in Hungary: A Case Study in Longue Duree Lubrication
7 Deema Kaneff: Making History, Making Politics: Post-Socialist Elite Economies of Favour in Bulgaria and the Ukraine
8 Tomasz Rakowski: Interior Spectacles: The Art of the Informal among the Former Miners in Walbrzych, Poland
9 David Henig: A Good Deed is not a Crime: Moral Cosmologies of Favours in Muslim Bosnia
10 Nicolette Makovicky: The 'Shadows' of Informality in Rural Poland
11 Martin Holbraad: Afterword: The Social Warmth of Paradox


Nicolette Makovicky is Lecturer of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Oxford. She is the editor of Neoliberalism, Personhood, Postsocialism: Enterprising Selves in Changing Economies (Ashgate, 2014) and has published extensively on informal economic activity in Central Europe.; David Henig is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent. His research, conducted mainly in the Balkans and Central Asia, focuses largely on vernacular Islam, sacred landscape, exchange theory, and more recently on linking anthropology with global transnational history, diplomacy, international relations, and geopolitics. He has authored numerous publications on Islam, dervish orders, Muslim politics, and post-socialism.