By Katherine E. Browne
What do the trickster Rabbit, slave descendants, off-the-books economies, and French voters need to do with one another? lots, says Katherine Browne in her anthropological research of the casual financial system within the Caribbean island of Martinique. She starts off with a question: Why, after greater than 300 years as colonial topics of France, did the citizens of Martinique choose in 1946 to combine totally with France, the very state that had enslaved their ancestors? the writer means that the alternative to say no sovereignty displays an identical clear-headed opportunism that defines winning, artful, and illicit marketers who paintings off the books in Martinique today.
Browne attracts on a decade of ethnographic fieldwork and interview information from all socioeconomic sectors to query the typical realizing of casual economies as culture-free, survival thoughts of the bad. Anchoring her personal insights to longer old and literary perspectives, the writer exhibits how diversifications of crafty were strengthened because the days of plantation slavery. those diversifications happen, now not inspite of French fiscal and political regulate, yet quite due to it. Powered through the "essential tensions" of conserving French and Creole identities, the perform of creole economics offers either statement of and shelter from the problems of being dark-skinned and French.
This robust ethnographic learn indicates how neighborhood fiscal meanings and plural identities support clarify paintings off the books. Like creole language and song, creole economics expresses an irreducibly complicated mixture of historic, modern, and cultural influences.
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