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versão impressa ISSN 0873-6561

Etnográfica v.10 n.2 Lisboa nov. 2006


Binding labour and capital: moral obligation and forms of regulation in a regional economy


Susana Narotzky *


The article is a critique of models of successful economic development in Europe based on the “economic region” idea. These models stress the usefulness of embedding economic relations in the social fabric (“social capital”). The ethnography reveals, however, a conflict-laden space where increased embeddedness produces increased tension within the family and the community. In this “modelic” regional economy in Southern Alicante (Spain), recent violent events have involved local actors in the shoe-wear industry, with resident Chinese entrepreneurs. I will show how this confrontation underlines the rise of local modalities of conflict that build upon the organic and culturally bounded elements of economic production that the model stresses: local homogeneity and common interest. The ethnographic evidence shows the complexity of a “regional economy” in a globalized context where appeals to the State to strengthen and enforce some regulations coexist with appeals to de-regulate other areas of the economy.

Keywords: regional economy, social capital, globalization, regulation, moral obligation, informal economy



Ligando o trabalho e o capital: obrigação moral e formas de regulação numa economia regional

Este artigo é uma crítica aos modelos de sucesso de desenvolvimento económico na Europa baseados na ideia de “região económica”. Estes modelos acentuam a utilidade do encastramento das relações económicas no tecido social (“capital social”). No entanto, a etnografia mostra-nos um espaço de conflito onde um crescente encastramento produz um aumento da tensão na família e na comunidade. Nesta economia regional “modelar” do sul de Alicante (Espanha), episódios recentes de violência envolveram actores locais da indústria do calçado com empresários chineses aí residentes. Mostrarei como este confronto ilustra o surgimento de modalidades locais de conflito que se exprimem na base dos elementos orgânicos e de enraizamento cultural da produção económica sublinhados pelo modelo: a homogeneidade local e o interesse comum. A investigação etnográfica mostra a complexidade da “economia regional” num contexto globalizado, onde apelos dirigidos ao Estado no sentido de fortalecer e reforçar algumas regulações coexistem com apelos no sentido da desregulação de outras áreas da economia.

Keywords: economia regional, capital social, globalização, regulação, obrigação moral, economia informal



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* Susana Narotzky

Universitat de Barcelona



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