This article introduces the concept of creole economics, a culturally informed view of the informal economy in Martinique, French West Indies. Local actors engaged in this economic practice are commonly known asdébrouillards. Drawing on studies of French slavery and folklore, literary works by Caribbean authors, archival materials from Martinique, and the author's own ethnographic fieldwork, this argument suggests that cultural history and creole identities play a significant role in shaping local patterns of illicit earning. By extending the notion of creole adaptations to the economic domain, this work builds on the efforts of Caribbean scholars who have clarified the influence of creole adaptations in other areas, such as language, performance aesthetics, and belief systems.
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Research Article| April 01 2002
Katherine E. Browne; Creole Economics and the Débrouillard: From Slave-Based Adaptations to the Informal Economy in Martinique. Ethnohistory 1 April 2002; 49 (2): 373–403. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-49-2-373
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