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The human economy programme, University of Pretoria, South Africa

by on 2013/03/19

The human economy programme, University of Pretoria, South Africa

The Human Economy Group was created as part of an international programme designed to bring back human concerns into economic studies. It is presently located at the University of Pretoria in Pretoria, South Africa, and is bringing together researchers from around the world with research experience in diverse disciplines. The programme was based on the book The HUman Economy, edited by Keith Hart, Jean-Louis Laville, and Antonio David Cattani and published by Polity Press, Cambridge, in 2010. I had a small chapter in the book on ‘Local Development’ and have been lucky enough to spend some time with the 11 post-docs, 9 PhDs and faculty at Pretoria earlier this year.

The group at Pretoria is undertaking a series of case studies, mainly but not only in Africa, in which we examine how people insert themselves into economic life. What people practically do has often been obscured, marginalised or repressed by dominant economic ideologies that privilege the market. We are interested in the ways people engage with economy and respond to institutional forms that perpetuate structures of inequality (creating, challenging, or even trying to ignore them). The human economy is conceived of as being made and remade by people themselves, being based on a holistic conception of human needs and with the interests of humanity as a whole in mind.

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