Moralities in an entangled world: On studying moral configurations and questions of change
Martina Drescher, Eberhard Rothfuß, Eva Spies: University of Bayreuth
How can moralities be conceptualised and how can changing moral configurations be examined in the contexts of global entanglements? The panel invites submissions of conceptual and empirical papers that discuss emerging moralities linked to transformative projects in development, religion, security, arts, health or education and present ways of studying them.
On the African continent, the quests for improving everyday life and transformations in general are shaped by a high frequency of interventions by international experts and all kinds of organisations as well as by a multitude of national and civil society initiatives. What role do moralities play in those contexts in which different actors, transformative projects and ways of implementing them can be found? How do, for instance, moral practices of wealth distribution of either religious groups, savings circles or economists speak to each other? The panel addresses the challenge of how to conceptualise moralities beyond static rules of conduct, and how to study changing moral configurations in contexts of global entanglement.
We suggest that moralities should not be understood as given rules, which are limited to a specific social field, nor as principles that clash or mix when different actors meet. Rather, following M. Lambek we understand moralities as dimensions of practice and as continuously constituted in and through practice. Moral questions, demands, criteria and evaluations about well-being, justice, and the right ways to act and live a 'good life' are thus seen as products of ongoing interactions between diverse agencies and the ways in which they relate to each other: In the course of their interactions, moral claims, concerns and judgements emerge and may in turn influence imaginaries of change and ways of shaping the future. Thus, studying moralities in the making means looking at everyday relational processes in which diverse agencies participate and continuously constitute moralities. It also means exploring these moralities in flux as a result and/or catalyst of transformative actions of individuals, organisations or social movements.
We invite submissions of conceptual and empirical papers that discuss emerging moral configurations connected to transformative projects in fields of development, religion, security, arts, health or education and present ways of studying them.