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Abstract

This article aims to establish a dialogue between approaches in economic anthropology and the anthropology of ethics and morality, assessing the complementarity and the possible points of juncture between these two theoretical lines of enquiry, their analytical potential, as well as their limits. It highlights the importance, for research on moral economies, of uncovering what counts as 'economic' and as 'moral' in a given empirical context, and proposes the analytical lenses of economization and moralization as a productive way to address such question. The theoretical contribution is grounded in ethnographic research in Spain that examines how Cuban migrants seeking to improve their lives and livelihoods navigate different political-economic systems and changing material conditions. While discussing their trajectories, future projects, and the expectation they associate with 'capitalism', 'communism' and their respective changes and crises, people are led to articulate different moral economies that delineate conflicting regimes of value and evaluations of what makes for a good life, and what ought to be the place of the economic in it. The analysis of the empirical material enables us to consider various instantiations of the moral economy, to explore the different realities the term can cover, and to clarify the scope and applicability of this notion.

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