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Keywords:

  • moral economy;
  • food and farming;
  • space and time;
  • chicken;
  • sugar;
  • Britain

This paper uses the concept of ‘moral economy’ to challenge the conventional view that defines morality and the market as oppositional terms. Drawing on evidence from life history interviews with key actors in the British food industry, the paper outlines how moral and ethical questions are articulated through notions of space and time. Using case study material from the chicken and sugar industries, the paper examines the way that ethical and moral issues are expressed through the dimensions of time (via notions of remembering and forgetting) and space (via notions of connecting and disconnecting) and via notions of visibility and invisibility. The paper concludes by examining how our understanding of the moral economies of food can be advanced through the adoption of a relational view of geographical scale and temporal connection, contrasting the attribution of individual blame with a politics of collective responsibility.