The Quest for the Good Life in Precarious Times

The Quest for the Good Life in Precarious Times

Ethnographic Perspectives on the Domestic Moral Economy

The Quest for the Good Life in Precarious TimesEdited by: Chris Gregory, Jon Altman

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The study of the quest for the good life and the morality and value it presupposes is not new. To the contrary, this is an ancient issue; its intellectual history can be traced back to Aristotle. In anthropology, the study of morality and value has always been a central concern, despite the claim of some scholars that the recent upsurge of interest in these issues is new. What is novel is how scholars in many disciplines are posing the value question in new ways. The global economic alignments of the present pose many political, moral and theoretical questions, but the central issue the essays in this collection address is: how do relatively poor people of the Australia–Pacific region survive in current precarious times? In looking to answer this question, contributors directly engage the values and concepts of their interlocutors. At a time when understanding local implications of global processes is taking on new urgency, these essays bring finely honed anthropological perspectives to matters of universal human concern—they offer radical empirical critique based on intensive fieldwork that will be of great interest to those seeking to comprehend the bigger picture.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Apr 2018
ANU Press
Monographs in Anthropology
Arts & Humanities: Cultural Studies; Science: Agriculture & Forestry; Social Sciences: Anthropology

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  1. Introduction (PDF, 0.1MB)Chris Gregory doi
  2. The Good Death? Paying Equal Respects in Fijian Funerals (PDF, 0.2MB)Matti Eräsaari doi
  3. Changing Standards of Living: The Paradoxes of Building a Good Life in Rural Vanuatu (PDF, 0.6MB)Rachel E. Smith doi
  4. ‘According to Kastom and According to Law’: ‘Good Life’ and ‘Good Death’ in Gilbert Camp, Solomon Islands (PDF, 0.6MB)Rodolfo Maggio doi
  5. ‘This Custom from the Past Is No Good’: Grassroots, ‘Big Shots’ and a Contested Moral Economy in East New Britain (PDF, 0.7MB)Keir Martin doi
  6. A Moral Economy of the Transnational Papua New Guinean Household: Solidarity and Estrangement While ‘Working Other Gardens’ (PDF, 0.2MB)Karen Sykes doi
  7. Cycles of Integration and Fragmentation: Changing Yolngu–Balanda Sentiments of the ‘Good Life’ in Northern Australia (PDF, 0.2MB)Fiona Magowan doi
  8. ‘The Main Thing Is to Have Enough Food’: Kuninjku Precarity and Neoliberal Reason (PDF, 0.5MB)Jon Altman doi
  9. The Rise of the Poverty-Stricken Millionaire: The Quest for the Good Life in Sargipalpara (PDF, 0.5MB)Chris Gregory doi


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