Based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out among market sellers in Equatorial Guinea’s capital Malabo at the height of its oil-boom in 2010–2012, this paper explores how prices were negotiated and set. It describes how the marketplace constitutes an important institution in Guinean society, not only as a site for provisioning, but also as a space for fostering relationships, engaging in politics and seeking social justice. The case of Equatorial Guinea helps us to re-think the notion of the just price as it is established through contingent and negotiated relations between traders, their customers and powerful political actors, rather than being the outcome of supply and demand or the result of struggles over the production and reproduction of labour. The emphasis on the political dimension of the just price speaks to key debates in the moral economy literature.
The ethnographic research for this paper was conducted for my PhD thesis, entitled The Clothes of Extraversion: Circulation, Consumption and Power in Equatorial Guinea (2017). I would like to express my gratitude to all the women who helped during my fieldwork in SEMU marketplace. I would also like to thank the panelists of the EASA 2016’s panel on the just price, the editors of the present volume and the anonymous reviewers, for their insightful and extremely useful comments. I also thank Dmitri van den Bersselaar and Enrique Martino for their comments and edits of the text.
Valenciano-Mañé, A. (2019), "When
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