Ideology and alternative market systems: the case of complementary currencies
Different meanings may be attached to money according to usage contexts, uses, sources, and marketplace practices associated with it. Complementary currencies, arisen with the recent economic downturn, are charged with ideological values such as anti-capitalism, local economic development and resilience, sustainable consumption, and community building at a local level. However, they also assume different financial, consumption, and symbolic meanings according to the market where they are embedded. This Pecha Kuka aims to study what kind of economic and cultural change a complementary currency has triggered in its local marketplace. I have been conducting an ethnography on the Brixton Pound, a local currency in Brixton (a neighbourhood in South London, UK) since March 2012. My goal is to highlight how this currency materially affects and will affect the different stakeholders in the neighbourhood, especially in the market, and to extend these considerations to similar contexts such as other neighbourhoods in London.