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The Question of Money: State, Protest, and Informal Currencies in the Wake of Greece’s Economic Crisis

The Question of Money: State, Protest, and Informal Currencies in the Wake of Greece’s Economic Crisis


Abstract:
Since the 2008 debt crisis Greeks have relied on the circulation of informal currencies—trading goods and services without euros. These solidarity economies seek to reclaim community resources for local people in protest of the staggering inequalities precipitated by Greece’s government debt, privatization of public assets, and structural reforms. People use local exchange trading schemes just to survive in a context where coinage is scarce. This research inquired into the nature of money, taking existing struggles over the form of monetary value in Greece as a point of reference. It explains how the circulation of multiple currencies not recognized by the state shapes social and political life and understanding of money and value, and how Greeks use local currencies to redefine the boundaries of nation in the context of a single European currency.


Bio:
Helen Panagiotopoulos is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the City University of New York Graduate Center. She received her MA in 2012 when her research focused on the U.S. domestic workers’ movement and commonalities in the workplace experiences among immigrants in New York City. Her current dissertation research looks into non-state recognized currencies amid the recent fiscal crisis in Greece.