Tuscan Values

The Politics and Ethics of the Just Price

ISBN: 978-1-78743-574-2, eISBN: 978-1-78743-573-5

ISSN: 0190-1281

Publication date: 19 June 2019

Abstract

This paper explores questions of value and the just price for two groups of farming families in southern Tuscany. As sharecroppers or small-holders they experienced the slow shift from subsistence farming to creating most of their livelihoods by selling the products or their labour. This created a complicated legacy in their views about the relationship between use-value and monetary value since the interaction of different spheres of the economy (what Gudeman calls mutuality and the market) continued to impact significantly on their material well-being and cultural values. This emerges in many contexts, from decisions to continue producing food for home consumption, to abandoning the investments of previous generations. In each case the quantitative questions (what does it cost? what is it worth?) play out alongside qualitative questions about use-values, values which are embedded in issues about the continuation of social and cultural relations. Two main points then emerge from this ethnography. First that in many circumstances local views about the just price cannot be understood by restricting the account to the market sphere. Even the innovative farming households who have moved to the production of high-quality foodstuffs find themselves in a market which eulogizes non-commercial values. Second, views about the just price mostly arise as part of a critique of the powerful forces shaping markets, and often draw on older political traditions concerned with social justice.

Keywords

Citation

Pratt, J. (2019), "Tuscan Values", The Politics and Ethics of the Just Price (Research in Economic Anthropology, Vol. 39), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 137-155. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0190-128120190000039007

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited

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