Women in Alternative Economy or, what Do Women Do Without Official Currency?

Women in Alternative Economy or, what Do Women Do Without Official Currency?

This paper aims to investigate the initiatives and schemes whose members transact among themselves without the use of the official currency.

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Published in: 21st IAFFE Annual Conference

By the term “exchange networks” we mean structures which facilitate non- monetary exchange for their members and they are either of general nature or specialised in one sector of activity. The term free-exchange bazaar (χαριστικό- ανταλλακτικό παζάρι) is the one used for bazaars where people can bring things (clothes, petty machines, shoes, toys, books, CDs, furniture, etc.) to exchange them or just give them away and take anything they believe it is useful to them. The free networks are online only; their members notify when they want to give something away for free or when they need anything that might be available but not yet announced online, and they get instantly notified when something is disposed by any network member.

By “parallel currencies” we mean any currency used in transactions by people, without this being official in any country. A parallel currency might have only a virtual or digital appearance (f.ex. units credited in a computer database) or it might take a physical appearance in material currency notes, issued by the currency users. The important feature of parallel currencies is that they have no (positive) interest rate, so loans are without interest payments and currency accumulation is not encouraged.

Then, the entire project had been designed without focusing on the role of women and without using feminist theory as it main theoretical background. However, the subject–matter was such that imposed not only methods which belong mainly to the feminist approach of conducting social research, but also it showed that in this economic activity, it was impossible not to see and pay attention to women’s involvement. 

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