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'The complexity of an enduring relationship’: Gender, Generation and the Moral Economy of the Gambian Household

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 16:39 authored by Pamela KeaPamela Kea
This article examines the moral economy of the Gambian Mandinka household, focusing on girls' labour contributions in the time of neoliberalism. Scholarship on the moral economy of the household within rural production systems reduces the term to altruism and harmony within the domestic unit. This article provides a more theoretically nuanced understanding of the moral economy of the household, with a focus on the cultural codes that underpin intra-household relations, the inter-generational contract, as well as the generational and gendered hierarchies that inform processes of negotiation in relation to labour contributions. Transitions in the moral economy of the household can be captured in the shifting nature of girls' labour contributions and in their changing attitudes towards these contributions. Interpretations of work obligations are increasingly framed in terms of exchanges and incentives. Further, girls aspire to get an education and a good job, or marry well in order to move out of farming. Such novel interpretations and practices recast the moral economy of the household as dynamic and subject to change. These ethnographic insights have relevance for the anthropological study of children's labour, intra-household relations, and the moral economy of the household.


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  • Published


Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute







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  • Anthropology Publications

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