8. 12. 2023

‘The Inner Dynamics of Moral Economies’ paper in East European Politics and Societies

Sosna, D. (2023) The Inner Dynamics of Moral Economies: The Case of Waste Management, East European Politics and Societies. DOI: 10.1177/08883254231173426.


The article examines the internal dynamics and relationality of moral economies. It focuses on labor relations to understand how people find balance between collective moral frameworks and individual everyday acts. Drawing on ethnographic research among the Czech landfill workers during the neoliberalization of the waste industry in the 2010s, the article explores two spheres of waste management: the informal scavenging of landfill workers and the management of wastewater. Salvaging things via scavenging and management of wastewater provide two arenas for analyzing the ways people reason about the good, dignity, and justice while following their own goals. Using inspirations from the scholarship on moral economy and everyday ethics, the author argues that these two theoretical directions may benefit from the respective strengths of each other’s approaches: a capacity to recognize patterns of moral reasoning behind struggles for dignity in an unequal world versus an actor-oriented situational sense of ethics growing from everyday life on the ground. The article points at a scalar reshaping of moral economies and brings attention to a morality that does not reflect only direct transactions but also more imaginative relations to distant others.