Sharing What Can Be Sold: Women Haus Maket Vendors in Port Moresby's Settlements

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    Dominant narratives of the economy, as well as policy discourses in Papua New Guinea (PNG), tend to separate the 'formal' from the 'informal' economy. Concurrently, there is a development policy emphasis on women's economic empowerment. In urban areas this has meant a policy focus on larger market places as sites where women need support for economic engagement. Within these policy discourses, one activity in urban areas usually relegated to the 'informal' economy is small home-based market stalls, referred to in this paper as haus maket. Located at homes or on nearby roads, haus maket are prolific and available to the public, and as such provide a similar function to public market places as spaces to make money. This paper considers these public yet intimate spaces as sites where vendors, usually women, embody and lead contestations between money and moral value spheres. At a time when the policy emphasis is on the formal economy and larger market places in PNG, why do such small market places persist? The first aim of this paper is to establish the role of haus maket as a site where spheres of value intersect. Rather than being 'informal' and peripheral, I seek to foreground its centrality to the economy but also as a site where economic and social moral values conflate. The second aim of the paper is to examine the role of sharing as a form of transaction in its own right distinct from exchange as a transaction between two actors. Haus maket stalls are sites of sharing and of moral action and value where forms of value in the settlement are shaped and negotiated.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)154-167
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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