by William A. Munro
Ohio University Press, 1998
eISBN: 978-0-89680-410-4 | Paper: 978-0-89680-202-5
Library of Congress Classification HN802.Z9C649 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 307.1412096891


The Moral Economy of the State examines state formation in Zimbabwe from the colonial period through the first decade of independence. Drawing on the works of Gramsci, E. P. Thompson, and James Scott, William Munro develops a theory of “moral economy” that explores negotiations between rural citizens and state agents over legitimate state incursions in social life. This analysis demonstrates how states try to shape the meanings of citizenship for agrarian populations by redefining conceptions of the public good, property rights, and community membership.

The book’s focus on the moral economy of the state offers a refreshing perspective on the difficulties experienced by postcolonial African states in building stronger state and rural institutions.