chapter  1
33 Pages

Mapping the “Better Angels” of Capitalism: Space, Place, and Story in the Moral Economy of Wealth

ByAndrew Herman

This chapter discusses a heterodox methodology that combines new strategies of ethnographic interpretation of narrative and culture, the genealogical analysis of rhetoric and discourse, and the cartographic mapping of the spatial and symbolic landscape. More than a landscape of geographical space, the vista is symbolic topos, or place of social identity, that is "charged with meaning and possibility because it is charged, like the glance that takes visionary possession of it, with desire". The genealogical analysis of the narrativity of location and place begins, of course, with Foucault. The discursive terrain upon which fortune and virtue operate shifts decisively from the political to the economic, where the marketplace became the space where the narrative of fortune and virtue was to be emplaced and emplotted. In the moral economy of wealth, the rhetoric of self-hood involves the intertwined process of location and narrative, or emplacement and emplotment.