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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'When They See Money, They Think it's Life': Money, Modernity and Morality in Two Sites in Rural Malawi
Author:Kaler, AmyISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:Malawi
social life
rural areas
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Economics and Trade
Women's Issues
Cultural Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070600656333
Abstract:Drawing on archival documents and interviews held in 1999 with 49 elderly men and women in two rural sites in Malawi - Machinga in the south and Mchinji in the centre of the country - the author elaborates a 'philosophy of money' very different from the mainstream classical view in social history. While social theorists in the classical Euro-American tradition have until now associated money with rationality, calculability and the draining of affect and emotion from daily life, Malawian elders looking back on the monetization of their community see it as an agent of chaos, discord and irrational behaviour. This function of money is particularly pronounced in the realms of marriage and sexuality, as money is blamed for the perceived deterioration of relations between the genders. The author argues that this view of money and economic change, while not empirically verifiable, provides a thought-provoking alternative to the tendency among Euro-American social theorists to associate money with rationalization and the decline of emotion as a governing principle in social relations. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]