Exchange networks and parallel currencies: Theoretical approaches and the case of Greece

Irene Sotiropoulou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article is a presentation of my PhD thesis (short article) and it was written originally in Greek.
The research project comprises both theoretical study and field research and it
focuses on economic activity in Greece which is performed without the use of any
official currency. This has been the first time that parallel currencies and exchange
networks, but also free bazaars, are being researched in Greece, not only because of
lack of interest by academia, but also because such initiatives emerged the very last
years in the country and still emerge and develop, particularly since 2009 onwards.
The project investigated parallel currencies, exchange networks, both
specialised and of general scope, free-exchange bazaars and free (online) networks,
and several sui generis schemes which could not be placed into the other categories.
The research used a combination of methodological tools, ranging from participatory
observation and free discussions with scheme members, to questionnaire survey,
interviews with key informants and mapping of scheme membership in the entire
The questions explored through this research have been related to main
notions of economic discipline, like market and economy, and to core issues like the
perception of economic value and how this is expressed in transactions without
official currency. The main features of the transactions have also been explored, like
the lack of exact measuring and the non-linear perception of time in exchanges. The
motives for performing this type of transactions have been a major question of this
research. The role of current economic and financial crisis in Greece in the expansion
of the schemes all over the country has been investigated and discussed, same as the
variety of scheme structures, which does not have similar precedents in academic
literature; then, this variety appears, till the moment, as the main peculiarity of the
Greek case of non-mainstream transaction modes.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)116-119
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • exchange networks
  • parallel currencies
  • free-exchange bazaars
  • Greece

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