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Department of Social Anthropology


Dr David Henig (University of Kent)

Economic Theologies of Abundance: Halal Exchange and the Limits of Neoliberal Effects in Post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina

This paper questions claims about the all-pervasive neoliberalisation of everyday life that dominate many debates in anthropology and beyond. Situated in deprived rural areas of post-war Bosnia–Herzegovina where socio-economic restructuring has led to a reduction in social redistribution and access to many once-guaranteed state provisions, I explore the workings of an Islamic economic theology of halal exchange that mediates divine abundance through an ethics of care and generosity. In a situation of increasing socio-economic inequalities, the economic theology of halal exchange offers villagers a parallel logic of relating to the divine and to each other, as it is concerned with generosity and sharing rather than with the calculative logic of profit and accumulation. Ultimately, this paper addresses the way that specific reconfigurations of cultural values provide a significant basis for moral imagination, innovative practice and virtuous action at a time of radical change and uncertainty.

Friday, 4 May, 2018 - 16:15 to 18:00
Event location: 
Edmund Leach Room Department of Social Anthropology Free School Lane, Cambridge